Olympic bronze medallist Emma Wilson stronger after turbulent Tokyo

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Britain's Emma Wilson poses for a photo at Team GB Tokyo 2020 Kitting Out - CREDIT REUTERS
Britain's Emma Wilson poses for a photo at Team GB Tokyo 2020 Kitting Out - CREDIT REUTERS

In the lead up to Paris 2024, Olympic bronze medallist Emma Wilson insists she’s taken plenty from her choppy Tokyo experience writes Tum Balogun.

The windsurfer saw her Olympic dreams put back a year by the Covid pandemic of 2020 and, like all athletes participating at the Games, had to adapt to a unique build up.

Travel restrictions coupled with the unforgiving British winter kept her out of the country for six months as she attempted to fine tune training for her debut.

However unorthodox, the 23-year-old stressed her gratitude for her first go around, saying: “As it went on I started getting some fitness training and began to think it was the best thing for me, I've actually got to get more experience.

Wilson, who went on to claim a bronze medal in the women’s RS:X - just two points behind gold medallist Lu Yunxiu of China - is drawing on the ordeal as her regime for Paris ramps up.

“I think the whole lead up, the trials, it’s quite good," said Wilson, speaking ahead of the release of ‘Chasing Tokyo’ on July 28, an Olympic Channel film that documents the British Sailing Team’s build-up to last year’s Olympic Games.

“I've had that experience and I know what I’m up against in that respect because that’s always pretty hard when only one person can go.

“And then the actual Olympic experience - okay there wasn’t a crowd and lots of people, but the racing, you’re under pressure and how to deal with all that.

“Also, the team I was with.

“Watching Hannah [Mills] and Giles [Scott], learning from them as well, you definitely can't forget that.

“I’m hoping to use all that experience to try and put it all together in Paris.”

Daughter of former Olympian and fellow windsurfer Penny Wilson, Emma was one of the youngest members of Team GB’s characteristically successful sailing squad.

Her bronze medal contributed to the five overall gongs won by the team in Tokyo.

A two-time junior world champion, Wilson’s preparations for her second Olympics have been complicated by alterations to the sport’s specifications.

But despite the adjustment, the Portland-based athlete is satisfied with her progress ahead of the selection process which starts in earnest next year.

She added: “Basically windsurfing has changed since [Tokyo 2020], so now we’re on foils which changed things quite a bit.

“We have to be a bit heavier, the whole fleet has changed as well.

“I’m one of the few that’s carried on from Tokyo so it was quite a hard transition.

“I came second at the European’s last month so I was pretty happy with my transition and next year it really kicks off selection wise for who gets to go.

“For now, just training rhythm and I’m trying to get the hang of it and enjoy it.”

The sailing events are due to take place in Marseille for the Games, a city Wilson has plenty of experience racing in.

She added: “I’ve done about three or four competitions in Marseille, I know it and I’m actually going there next month to check it out for a bit.

“It’s a bit weird, you have to get used to the venue but I think it should be good - it's hot and windy so that should be good.”

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