Family Man Nick Looking for Home Boost
British Olympic windsurf hope, Nick Dempsey, will be looking to make it a double celebration as he gets his London 2012 campaign underway at Weymouth and Portland on Tuesday (31 July).
Dempsey became a dad for the second time in March, with double Olympic gold medal-winning wife, Sarah Ayton, giving birth to Oscar, a little brother for three-year-old Thomas.
But the discipline required in the final throes of an Olympic campaign has meant Athens 2004 bronze medallist Dempsey has spent long periods away from his Weymouth home, staying in team accommodation in Portland to keep focussed on the job at hand and avoid the distractions of living with a newborn.
Peterborough-raised Dempsey, who celebrates his 32nd birthday two days after the Olympic regatta ends, heads into the Games as one of the favourites, having medalled at each of the last six events at Weymouth and Portland since China, including winning the 2009 RS:X World Championship crown.
Now he wants to repeat that success when it counts so he can really start enjoying the latest addition to the Dempsey family.
He said: “I can just say I’m very, very lucky to have Sarah. She’s an amazing mother and without her I wouldn’t be able to do my Olympic campaign because it’s gotten to the stage where she has basically given me a pass for five months to go and do my thing, to just get on with my training and put that first, to win an Olympic medal. I can come back and be a father after and we will go back to being a tight family unit.
“Thomas has no idea what I do, he thinks I work in the gym because that is where I go every morning and is generally where he comes and meets me in the evenings! You always want your kids to be proud of you as you want to be proud of them.”
London 2012 is Dempsey’s fourth Games, having made his Olympic debut as a 19-year-old at Sydney 2000. But he left Beijing having suffered the heartbreak of finishing fourth, narrowly missing out on a podium finish in the final medal race.
Dempsey has adopted his toughest ever physical training regime in the build-up to London 2012, to enable him to compete at the top of what is generally considered the fittest fleet in the Olympic sailing regatta.
He admits that to come away satisfied from these Games he is going to need to lay to rest any remaining ghosts from Beijing.
He added: “I would like to say I have just done my best and knowing I’ve done everything possible, but I think in reality I will struggle if I don’t at least medal, if not win. This is where it’s at and I do feel the pressure more because I expect more from myself in this venue and I think people expect me to do well here.
“Beijing was brutal but giving up was never an option ever. It’s London and I wanted nothing more than to have that opportunity again to go and win a gold medal. A lot of the areas of my sailing have improved, I’m more powerful than I was and I think I’m the best shape of my life so hopefully it should show.”
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August. The RS:X Men’s medal race is scheduled for Tuesday 7 August (1pm).