Portland’s Saskia Tidey eyes 2024 Olympics

DOUBLE Olympian Saskia Tidey relishes her new role as a more senior member of the British sailing team as she targets a third edition of the Olympic Games at Paris 2024.

Tidey, 29, from Portland, finished sixth in the 49er FX class with Weymouth’s Charlotte Dobson in Tokyo, after representing Ireland in 2016, but now partners Freya Black, 21, after Dobson chose to retire in 2021.

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

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

“With each Olympic cycle, you grow personally.

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

“What I have to remember about sailing and the sport is that you are always learning. I think I have grown and developed my skills outside of the boat over the two campaigns.

“Freya being young, enthusiastic and truly talented is such an exciting opportunity to have a new 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 ‘am I the oldest person here?’ but in fact it is a little out of place.

“That’s how you feel inside and I think our sport is all about experience and now there are so many opportunities coming up in the future that it’s just amazing to be able to be. supported as a woman to continue the campaign.”

Despite his enthusiasm and optimism, Tidey admits that the road will be difficult for the new partnership.

Tidey and Dobson have had five years to prepare for Tokyo, due to the year-long delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which the 29-year-old says helped them in some ways and hindered them to others.

However, the new duo have just two years to rise to Olympic level and achieve their goal of challenging for the podium, with September’s 49erFX World Championships in Nova Scotia their first big test as they won the ninth place in the general classification.

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

“The physical side got easier and the mental side got harder. Mentally it became quite an exhausting process. I didn’t feel as relaxed until we flew to Japan.

“We came out of the World Championships in 2020 as silver medalists, so we felt quite prepared for Tokyo 2020.

“When Covid hit it was a time to sit down and take a little break and reset your head.

“Freya and I have two pretty tough years to make up for.

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

“We’re going there to challenge for the podium and hopefully build a very strong team to look forward to the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 and bring home the gold.”

The British Sailing Team is the most successful national Olympic sailing team of all time and will proudly carry the flag of Great Britain at Paris 2024.

Naomi C. Amerson