I have many mixed emotions when I look back at the week of racing in Rio. I got off to a great start and managed to wear the first place yellow bib for five out of the six days of racing. I found myself going into the last race still wearing it, although only one point ahead of Damien. So to finish 3rd on the podium initially was a real disappointment. To have my last memory of the Paralympic Games of that awful last race, having towed a plastic bag round the course, is one I am desperately trying to replace with the memory of feeling so proud standing on the podium with two amazing sailors. Matt put in an outstanding performance and to win the last race after what I can imagine must have been an emotional & stressful evening and morning to take Silver shows true strength of character. Damien showed amazing consistency all week in tricky conditions keeping clear of any trouble to come through and claim Gold in the last race. A true Paralympic champion!
Waiting together to go up on the podium to receive our medals, my disappointment soon ebbed away, as we discussed the week, the tricky conditions and the pride and respect we had for each other. The fact that this was our last Paralympic Games made the moment even more poignant.
With all the rush of media commitments and the medal ceremony I realised I had not seen or spoken to my coach Ian Barker since I had jumped out of the RIB in rather an emotional state! Our reunion after the medal ceremony was far from unemotional, but over lunch the next day we reflected on what we had achieved together, Gold in London and Bronze in Rio. Yes we would have loved another Gold medal and together with my husband Steve and the support team at the RYA, we had put in a lot of hard work, but so had my fellow competitors. We should be proud of what we achieved!
So I would like to say thank you to Billy Barker “Super Coach”, for an amazing 6 years of Coaching, sail making and friendship.
Steve, my husband, for 20 years of continual love & support, advice, and his technical input
The support team at the RYA, past and present, in particular Ben Chell, Emilie Thienot, Linton Jenkins and Steve Mellors
My word Cloud Supporters, Volvo, North sails, Superspars and Harken.
Finally the 2.4mR fleet for amazing times, awesome racing and great friendship. I am really going to miss the circuit.