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01 Nov 2011
London 2012 , IOC News

Golden Opportunity: Ingrid Petitjean, sailing

The French 470-class world number one and 2005 European champion Ingrid Petitjean is targeting Olympic gold at the London 2012 Games to add to a stellar career.

Q: How does it feel to have been ranked world number one for over a year now?
A: It’s great to be so consistent but we really do not pay too much attention to our rankings. The next – and most important – step is to win competitions.

Q: Does it add pressure to know that you are the team to beat?
A: Competition is always close – there are about 10 teams who can win on any one day, so who knows which team will be strong come the Olympic Games? England, Spain and Italy are always strong, but New Zealand and Japan are ones to watch too. Some countries have more than one team so it is difficult to tell who will qualify.

Q: Will it be a big advantage for the British team to be in home waters and does it help that you are not too far away?
A: Yes, it is always an advantage to be in home waters but every team has a good chance. The weather system we have down on the Mediterranean is very different to that in Britain. But we keep well informed of what is going on and being so close to Weymouth does help.

Q: If you do qualify, it will be your third participation at the Games. How much does experience help?
A: Experience plays a major part for everyone racing in any regatta. For sure I have made mistakes before and I hope to learn from them.

Q: Are you excited that Great Britain is hosting the Games?
A: The organisation in Weymouth has been fantastic and I can see that London is getting very excited about the Games. I am sure they will put on a great show.

Q: Did you dream of becoming an Olympian when you started sailing, aged 11?
A: I am a very competitive person so winning has always been important to me and from a young age I realised that sailing was a way I could achieve this goal. Since then, it has always been a dream to compete in the Games.

Q. What is your earliest memory of the Olympic Games?

A. I remember watching the 1992 Games in Barcelona when I was 12. This was good timing for me as I had just started sailing.

Q. With under a year to go, what is your average training week like?
A. The year before the Games is when we work the hardest because we want to have time to recover and be fresh closer to the competition. It has been difficult because my crewmate Nadège Douroux was injured and we couldn’t train together for six weeks in spring. Now we train six days out of seven, and recently we went on a training camp to Weymouth. There are also lots of regattas and competitions throughout the spring and summer.

Q. So your thoughts are turning to the Olympic Games now?
A. Nadège has recovered well but we focus on each regatta at a time – we have to qualify for the Games first and there are lots of other strong French teams. If everything goes to plan and we qualify, then we will look forward to the Games.

Q. If you do qualify, what do you think you will be listening to before you compete?
A. I like to listen to recent pop music so I update my MP3 player regularly. And I don’t like to plan too much, so who knows who I will be listening to come London!

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