Saskia Tidey embracing new senior role ahead of bid for third Olympics

·3-min read
Saskia Tidey embracing new senior role ahead of bid for third Olympics

By James Reid

Two-time Olympian Saskia Tidey is relishing her new role as a more senior member of the British Sailing Team as she targets a third Olympic Games at Paris 2024.

Tidey, 29, finished sixth in the 49er FX class with Charlotte Dobson in Tokyo, having represented Ireland in 2016, but is now partnering 21-year-old Freya Black after Dobson chose to retire in 2021.

And while Tidey admits the duo face a tough task to perfect their partnership in just two years, the Dublin-born sailor hopes her experience can smooth their path to Paris.

“It's a different role than I played last cycle, there’s a bit more management involved in terms of keeping the campaign running,” said Tidey.

“With every Olympic cycle, you develop personally.

“I sailed with Charlotte Dobson for the Tokyo cycle who is just an epic sailor and she was the experienced party in our campaign and I learnt a lot.

“The bit I have to keep reminding myself about sailing and sport is that you are always learning. I think I’ve grown and developed my skills outside of the boat over the two campaigns

“Freya being young, enthusiastic, and really talented is such an exciting opportunity to have a fresh face in the 49erFX class and for Freya to put her own mark on what the future looks like for us.

“It’s easy to look around the boat park and think ‘crikey am I the oldest person here?’ but actually it’s kind of irrelevant.

“It’s how you feel on the inside and I think our sport is about experience and now there’s so many opportunities being presented going forward that it’s just amazing to be able to be supported as a female to pursue the campaign.”

Despite her excitement and optimism, Tidey admits it will be a tough road for the new partnership.

Tidey and Dobson had five years to prepare for Tokyo, owing to the one-year delay caused by Covid-19 pandemic, something the 29-year-old believes helped them in some ways and hindered them in others.

However, the new duo have just two years to get up to Olympic standard and achieve their goal of challenging the podium, with September’s World Championships in Nova Scotia their first big test.

“Since the Games, with a two-year cycle, it’s been quite a quick turnaround and even now I still feel quite fatigued from that whole five-year experience – it was quite a lot to take on,” admitted Tidey.

“The physical side became easier and the mental side became more difficult. Mentally it became quite a draining process. I didn’t feel that relaxed until we got on a plane to Japan.

“We came off the back of the World Championships in 2020 as silver medallists so we felt pretty teed up for Tokyo 2020.

“When Covid hit it was a time to sit down and have a bit of a break and reset our heads.

“Freya and I have got a pretty tough two years ahead in terms of trying to catch up.

“We have to be really smart in how we manage our campaign and be really aware of what will make the difference for our performance for Paris.

“We’re going there to challenge the podium and hopefully build a really strong team to look forward to the LA Olympics in 2028 to go and bring home the gold.”

The British Sailing Team are the most successful national Olympic sailing team of all time and will proudly fly the flag for Great Britain at Paris 2024