Iain Percy Blog
Percy - 3 days after the medal race
It’s now three days after the medal race and I’m getting to about 30 per cent happiness and about 70 per cent disappointment. But it’s growing, the happiness side is growing.
It just felt very cruel at the time. We spent a long week, did some amazing races against some amazing competitors, grinding out a point at a time and then sailed a medal race where 10 points can go in the role of a dice. That felt really cruel and unfair at the time but we also knew that was the case when we signed up for it. At the end of the day we made the wrong decisions in the medal race.
These things are pretty hard to predict and there is a lot of luck but it is still the skill to make the calls and we didn’t get it right.
I’ve certainly been reliving what we should have done or could have done a lot of times, but it’s been quite lucky I’ve been able to turn my attention to the rest of the team because for one, there’s Paul (Goodison), Bryony (Shaw) and the 49er boys, who are fantastic competitors but have come away with nothing, and that sure as hell shuts you up about coming away with a silver medal.
Yesterday it was a switch again and we were sitting up on the Nothe watching the 470 Men in the harbour secure their silver and then an amazing silver for Nick Dempsey. I’ve had to spend a lot of time in the gym after having back issues and I know that someone who’s spent more time in the gym than me is Nick. He’s turned himself into an incredible athlete for this event and he’s been so professional. I was really hoping he was going to come away with a medal because he really does deserve it, so that was special.
Luke and Stu are just a breath of fresh air. These boys come here and, in their words, ‘smash it’. They are enjoying it and they are completely fearless. They have been sailing like real winners and that’s been brilliant. We are quite an old team now, been around for a long time, so having these blokes making you smile and enjoying every inch and every second of the Olympic experience is really refreshing.
Myself and Andrew have been on this journey for a long time together. I consider it starting back when we were kids but really where our bond was concreted was in 2000 when he became my training partner for the Sydney Olympics completely free of charge before we had money to do this stuff. We lived out there, two young guys having a laugh in Australia just taking it on. He stayed all the way through the Olympics, was looking at every race on the cliffs and he really won that medal with me there just like he has with the two since.
Being a Star campaign means there are a lot of people to thank because it’s such a big undertaking in terms of equipment, organisation and logistics. We’ve been so lucky to have a lot of supporters giving their time for free, no more so than Nick Harrison, who’s been our coach, taken time away from his business, from his family more importantly, to listen to us for the last few years. I don’t think many people realise, at this level, someone is doing it out of the goodness of their heart not for money but because he really does care about me and Bart. He’s a very special man.
After that there is literally a list of hundreds of people. Because of their support, because all our sponsors live the journey with us each step of the way, you can tell what they care about is us doing well much more so than they do in some ways about the return on their investment. And then many, many other people who have come to help, the people who have come in to coach us for a week for free, just top sailors and top coaches, who come to help us for a while. The list really is endless and too long to say now but I hope everyone who has been involved knows how much we appreciate it and how much difference they have all made.
The support from the wider public has been really nice too. After the medal race I was feeling so much pain, and I know Andrew was too, and the first glimpse of light inside my soul was when the crowd gave us such a heartfelt cheer and the cheer said everything. It said ‘Don’t worry you’ve done us proud and we know you did your best’. Everything was said in that applause and because of that I started to see the positives of what we achieved. For that I’ll be eternally grateful to the crowds.
There’s been a postbox that’s appeared in Emsworth wrapped in tin foil that people have covered in congratulation messages, which is really sweet. My little niece saw it, and when you are a two-year-old you think it’s magic and it’s Father Christmas or someone who has done it! She was the first to spot that and she was very happy.
It’s lovely things like that which are happening to all the medallists around the country and it’s just the British spirit isn’t it? It is why it is a special place to live.
I’m here with the guys for the rest of the Games and then quite soon after I’m heading to San Francisco to join back up ironically with the Swedish America’s Cup team I work for. I’ve got a week off after this to really clear my head and then I’ve got to really throw my energies into this. We have got the America’s Cup to win and that’s another really exciting challenge.