Fourth before - a medal this time?


Ed Gorman talks to Shirley Robertson, in Sydney for Britain in the Europe
Like Andy Beadsworth, who came fourth at the Olympic regatta in Savannah in the Soling class, Shirley Robertson knows what it is like to miss out on an Olympic medal. In the swamps and humidity of that Georgia resort she also had to accept a medal-less fourth place in Europes, returning home brokenhearted after years of work. But like Beadsworth too, Robertson has not given up on her dream of Olympic glory and she will be racing at the Sydney Olympics, making it her third Games in the little single-handed dinghy. At 32, it will also almost certainly be her last campaign in a solo class. Over the years if you had to pin-point the major weakness in Robertson's armoury it would be her temperament, specifically her ability to hold it all together when the pressure comes on towards the end of a series or her ability to bounce back from a bad race. Yet there are signs that Scotland's leading female racing sailor may have found the strength and confidence she has previously lacked. Preparing for Sydney, she is both more confident and relaxed than at the equivalent stage four years ago. "Obviously winning a medal is something I've been working towards for a long time," she told MadforSailing. "But I think as I've got older I've become much more relaxed about it. There's not the same kind of desperation as before and I'm much more pragmatic than I was. "I'm preparing as well as I can," she added. "I'm working hard and sailing well and if that's not enough then that's not enough. I don't think I could really do any better. I think when I get to the Games I'll sail well - I'm actually not nervous about the whole thing." Fighting talk indeed. But it is not just talk. Mark Littlejohn, Robertson's

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