I’m sure a lot of you are wondering why it’s taken so long to write about the Paralympics… Well the truth is, I haven’t been able to find the words.
To say I’m gutted would be an understatement. I’m disappointed, upset, frustrated, angry and I’ve felt pretty much every negative emotion in between.
Working through my feelings has been a pretty tough battle to fight, but I’m nearly there….
So what did happen?
Going into the Games, we were in the best shape of our lives, both on the water and off it. No stone had been left un-turned, the boat was looking fab thanks to all the efforts of David Heritage and Simon Rosier, we were fitter, tougher and all in all ready and really up for the Games. I must be honest, in all our Games experiences, this was the most positive I had felt running into a competition…
The start of the racing wasn’t what we had planned for by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes life just doesn’t go to plan, and with 2 pretty rubbish days, we were struggling to find our stride.
Then we had the day to end all days with 3 bullets on the trot, that “click” coming into the boat as the breeze came up; we might be one of the lightest crews, but we do know how to sail a sonar on the breezier days 😉
The next day, however, things took a turn for the worst following a rule infraction and a set of penalty turns that Team USA claimed were in their way meant we carried a DSQ onto the board, and our hopes of medaling looked like they were going out of the window.
That night, the score sheet and the realisation that our hopes of clawing back the points were fast evaporating was possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to come to terms with, and I have 2 people to thank in particular for getting me through it…
Mel- A true Siren and an amazing friend- you working in Rio has been an absolute bonus for me, and I’m so glad you’ve been there through all the training and the Games themselves. Not many people would drop everything after a phone call at 2130 to come across the city to my hotel to grab a bottle of wine and put the world to rights after one hell of a night in the protest room. You really picked me up at my lowest, and supported me, and I really can’t thank you enough… Plus your bouncing on the beach on the last day really put a smile on my face heading into that last race!
Abi- My Lil sister and bestest bud… That phone call following the protest and the bad day really helped. You were the one that put everything into perspective for me- “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, and clearly God has other plans for you”, and of course laughing until we cried it all out after I broke my chair out of frustration just by sitting my fat arse on it was a huge relief!!
As a team we’ve been through these tough regattas before, we’ve had so much thrown at us, and we really are one of the strongest teams in my mind, not just on the water, but behind the scenes in the way we support each other through thick and thin!
Fighting to the very end, we put in everything we had left to end the racing on a high, despite the disappointment in our hearts. With that closing moment of sailing along the beach after the final race with Mum, Adrian and Mel cheering their heads off really being a memory that I will treasure forever.
This journey has taken up over 16 years of my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Granted I haven’t walked away with that piece of metal I’ve been chasing for so long, but I have had one hell of a ride, and I’m a stronger, better sailor and person as a result.
There are so many people that need thanking that have joined me on this journey, and have now taken up so many pages of my book, but a few deserve a special mention here… Chris, Alex and Simon, Thanks for the text messages and the phone calls during the Games… People underestimate quite how much the media/ family blackout can affect you, but you guys kept me pushing, listened to endless hours of my ranting, self doubt and worries and supported me, and even answered the phone at some obscure hours!!
John and Steve- you’re the best team mates that I could ever have asked for… Your loyalty to our team, to see this journey through to the end, and to continue fighting for every place has been inspirational. We really did make one hell of a team!
Finally my Mum… You push me harder than most people agree is normal, and you’ve been on this journey just have much as I have! At times we’ve frustrated the ever living hell out of each other, and I’m sure you’ve wanted to murder me more than once… There just isn’t enough gratitude in the world for everything that you have done for me… But I’ll say it anyway- THANK YOU!
So that’s it… Now I’ll have to find something else to occupy my time…
There’s a good few projects in the pipeline right now; I’ve got what most would consider too many options.
For now though, I’m going to take some time to be me, to see what it is that really keeps my heart pumping…
I’ll tell you this though- it won’t be long before I’m back on the water!!