29 October 2020
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Sailing: Ayton aims to make British Olympic history

April 16, 2010

Double Olympic gold medallist, Sarah Ayton, has confirmed that she will bid for an historic third gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Sarah-and-Saskia-ProfileAyton sailed to victory in the Yngling class at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Games, and will aim to become the first British woman to win three successive Olympic gold medals. She will be returning to competitive action just ten months after giving birth to her first child.

Ayton, 30, has confirmed she will sail in the two-person 470 class alongside Britain’s most experienced 470, Saskia Clark – a World Championship medallist in 2005 and 2007.

“The new partnership in the 470 class is really interesting,” said Clark.

“With Sarah being a double gold medallist I can learn a lot from her experience, whereas I have a lot of competitive experience in the 470, so as a team I think we complement each other really well.”

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Ayton had to carefully consider her decision to return to sailing, as the Yngling class has been removed in favour of women’s match racing for 2012. She not only had to choose the right boat to sail in and crew to join her, but also balance the demands of being an elite athlete alongside being a mother.

“After thinking really hard about my campaign and experimenting with match racing, it was an easy decision in the end to choose the 470,” Ayton explained.

“Teaming up with Saskia seemed the most natural route and we are already building up a strong understanding, and can’t wait to get started on our campaign. The next event is in Hyeres, where the conditions are going to really test us, but this first year is about building up the relationship and proving ourselves as a team.”

Chris Knight, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Image credit: Mark Cooper / Volvo

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