A First Olympic Appearance

Ed Gorman talks to Hugh Styles, Britain's Tornado representative in Sydney
History shows that to do well in the Tornado catamaran at the Olympics you need to be around in that class for a very long time indeed - 15-20 years is about right. Given that, what chance has any pairing that have been sailing this tactically demanding boat for just a year got, when up against others with this sort of experience? Not much you may think. However, newcomers do occasionally burst through the ranks. Take the Spaniard Fernando Leon who got out of the Soling after the 1992 Games in Barcelona, where he finished sixth, and two years later won the Tornado World Championships. He followed that up by winning the gold medal in Savannah four years ago. Significantly Leon was an accomplished sailor before he made the switch - he had previously just missed a medal at the 1988 Games where he was fourth in 470s. All of which goes to show that Hugh Styles, who sails with Adam May for Britain in Tornados in Sydney, is not quite the longshot for medals that his precious little experience in the class may suggest. After just two-and-a-half years in the boat and only a year racing with May, he knows he's an outsider, but he and those who coach him believe a podium finish is possible. In any ordinary generation Styles, aged 26, may well have made it to the Games in Lasers, but the former number five in the world found Ben Ainslie blocking his way. Yet his career in the single-hander was a distinguished one with a win in the class European Championships in 1997 and fifth place at the Worlds the same year. That quality has been obvious in the impressive start he and May have made in the Tornado. After a five month work-up from scratch,