Webchats.tv recently interviewed Olympic gold medal winner Shirley Robertson on-line. Here's what she had to say
Thirty-six-year-old year old Shirley Robertson from Cowes returned home victorious with her team from the Olympics in Athens after winning the gold medal in their keelboat Yngling class. In a recent interview on Webchats.tv Robertson answers questions from fans on winning gold, her hero’s welcome and the bid for London 2012.
When you set off for Athens did you ever think you would be coming back with gold?
Having won in Sydney gave me confidence that we could win again under pressure but we have had a tough year we have won some regattas but lost others. But I always knew we had a strong enough team to pull it off.
How did you feel when you were being presented with your Olympic medal?
It’s lots of emotions all rolled into one. Initially relief that we had put it together and not messed up and then also I felt terribly proud of my crew and their achievements. The three of us have not stopped smiling since that evening.
What was the big reception like in London when you returned from Athens?
The Parade was fantastic; it was a beautiful sunny day a good omen for the London 2012 bid. So many people came to support us, we were very proud to be British…
Is it your ambition to win another gold or do you feel you’ve achieved your goals now?
It used to be enough to win one gold medal but Steve Redgrave has changed all that. I would love to go on and win one in Britain but I might be a bit old by then. The Olympics is very addictive, whenever I retire it’s going to be very hard.
What would it mean to you personally if the Olympics did come to the UK?
I think for all athletes there is nothing better than competing and hopefully winning in front of home crowd. For sport generally it would be an incredible boost and inspiration to all our young budding athletes.
If we win 2012, where will the sailing events take place?The sailing will take place in Weymouth. Already the site is well developed, it’s a great venue for our sport. Why should we back a campaign for London when we have great cities such as Manchester and Leeds in the North?
It’s actually a British bid hosted by our Capital city for British athletes it would be a fantastic opportunity to compete at home.
Do you think holding the Olympic games in Britain will encourage more young children to take part in sport?
We need to create heroes in sport to encourage children to take part. Having champions at home will do this. Success will breed success and increase participation.
Do you think improving sports teaching in schools should be a priority?
I think a lot of talent falls buy the wayside because nobody picks up on their potential. All athletes have had mentors in their career that have pushed them in the right direction. We need to improve school sports and allow more physical education in schools if we want a more active population and successful sports people.
Will there be any new sailing classes included for 2008 or 2012?
At the beginning of November, our international body ISAF will decide on the classes to be sailed in Beijing. Rumour has it that the wind will be very light in the sailing venue.
If we hosted 2012 do we have the right conditions for all the different Olympic sailing classes?
Weymouth is a good sailing venue because it has a variety of weather conditions and has both harbour and open water to sail in. Variety will mean the best sailors prevail.
Are we number 1 in the world at sailing right now?
Yes! Since Sydney, Britain has been the top sailing nation. Long may it continue.
Do you think there are enough opportunities for young sailors to get experience and succeed in the UK?
The Royal Yachting Association provide the best youth development programme in the world but it can always be better and if we are to remain number 1 in the world it will have to. If we have the Olympics in 2012, there will be many more opportunities for our young sailors to succeed…
What advice could you give to young sailors in order for them to gain the maximum exposure to the sport?
Initially to race as much as they can at their local club. After that the Royal Yachting Association provides a good network of national training.
Shirley, who was the first person you told when you had been successful in gaining a place in the team?
Although we had successfully achieved the qualifying criteria for our national team we had to wait until Simon Clegg CEO of the British Olympic Association informed us.
What was it like to have a day to spare when the rest of the Olympians were fighting over silver and bronze?
It’s always nice to win without a struggle on the last day. The three of us took the opportunity to visit the health spa for a relaxing afternoon and to have our hair done in time for the medal ceremony in the evening.
Who are your sailing heroes?
When I was growing up Rodney Pattison was our greatest sailing hero winning two golds and a silver. Today however, Ben Ainslie has matched Rodney’s achievement and I’m sure will go on to surpass them. Ben is our modern day hero!Surely you can’t pass up on the chance of beating the world again on home turf in 2012?
As I will only be 28 (honest!) in 2012 I will of course love to beat the world on my home water.