Olympic gold medallist and multiple World Champion Tom Slingsby is dipping his toes back into Olympic class sailing and will join the Australian Finn squad at a training camp at Lake Garda in Italy tomorrow.
The highly-respected Slingsby won the Laser class at the London Olympics in 2012 before winning the America’s Cup in 2013 as a strategist for Oracle Team USA the following year.
While the 33-year-old remains non-committal about his intentions two years out from the Tokyo Games, his expertise is a welcome addition to the Australian Sailing Team’s four-man Finn squad, which is working under coach Rafael Trujillo, a silver medallist for Spain at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
In a social media post on Tuesday, Slingsby is shown sailing a Finn on Sydney Harbour, with a caption that includes: “At 88kg I need to put on some weight and get stronger to keep up but I love a challenge”.
Australian Sailing Performance Director Iain Murray said having Slingsby join the camp in Italy can only benefit the Team.
“Tom has proven himself an exceptional sailor in various forms and has vast experience, which I know our Team members will be keen to tap into,” he said. “We’re not sure of Tom’s long-term plans as yet, but any time an Olympic champion wants to be involved in our program, we’ll welcome that.”
Slingsby spent time over summer training with Rio Olympics representative in the Finn, Jake Lilley, before competing at the Sail Melbourne regatta, where he came second to Lilley, despite being underweight for what is regarded as the heavyweight Olympic sailing class.
Meanwhile, at the Laser European Championships at La Rochelle in France, Australia’s World No.4 Matt Wearn has taken the lead after Day 3 of competition. Teammate and Rio Olympic champion Tom Burton is 37th in the 160-boat fleet. Australian Sailing Squad members Luke Elliott (8th) and Mitch Kennedy (12th) are well positioned.