If you can’t stop thinking about something, you probably aren’t really done with it 

Written by Charlotte Dobson  | 20 March 2017

Charlotte Dobson reflects on Rio and looks ahead to her next goal


Leaving Rio and looking back, it was such a huge honour to be part of Team GB. To represent your country and wear the team kit are memories I will never forget and it’s something I will be hugely proud of forever.

One of my highlights was arriving back to the airport from the Games and being welcomed home by so many people and really seeing how much the country had engaged with it. The reason I want to win a medal is I remember being an eight year old kid looking at Olympians thinking they were super-humans and to try to be that for another kid along the way is incredibly motivating.

I felt a bit deflated when I left Rio. We hadn’t achieved the big dream, the one you’ve had all your life, but I believe it was a fair representation of our performance and our weaknesses had come out. We didn’t have any kind of disaster, it was more a case of the building blocks not being fully in place – but that’s something positive to work throughout the next cycle.

I came home thinking ‘should I do another campaign or not?’ I really wasn’t too sure and it was very much a feeling of deflation and I wasn’t motivated. The turning point for me was going into schools and seeing young people who were so engaged in the Olympics, as well as a recent trip out to Tokyo to see what it’s like, which really changed my mind. If you can’t stop thinking about something you probably aren’t really done with it!

I had a bit of life-realisation. It is the most amazing thing in life to have a goal and I am determined to fulfil it in this cycle.

After Rio I did quite an extensive review of where I thought my sailing was, where Sophie and I had done well and what attributes we might need for Tokyo and that included a trip to Tokyo in October. It also involved dusting of my Laser hiking pants, which was an emotional experience, but it was really fun to see a new venue. It was clear that what was needed to do well in Rio is quite different to what is needed in Tokyo, and that kind of made a natural step for Soph and I to find what we needed elsewhere, separate from each other.

It’s sad in a way, it’s almost like a marriage that comes to an end. You have to split all your kit and it’s all a bit emotional!

But then Saskia got in touch… whilst she went to the 2016 Games for Ireland, her dad is British so she is entitled to a British passport and has always looked at the British Sailing Team with huge admiration. Her helm had retired, so she took the chance to come and sail with the team.

It all happened unbelievably quickly. Saskia’s had such a huge amount of support from her family and friends and at home, understanding that this is the right next step in her sailing career.

Saskia and I are quite similar people, it’s been easy in a way. It’s cool hanging out and we have a pretty similar view to what we think is required for a campaign and how we approach. We have a similar feedback style so I think that just makes a massive difference as you spend so much time together during a campaign and you see each other at your best and worst.

Sas is an amazing athlete, she’s like an avatar! She’s really tall and really fit and I think that should suit the FX very well, especially as we’re potentially looking at a slightly windier venue in Tokyo.

It’s tricky to set goals at the moment. In a new partnership you’ve no idea who you are as a team. We have a vision of where we need to be for Tokyo and at the moment our main goal is to explore who we are, what our strengths and weaknesses are and not rush into creating really detailed routines just yet without spending the time working out who is good at what.

It’s actually really exciting and hilarious at times, it’s a cool part of the cycle!



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