‘I feel like I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to, so it’s hard to keep pushing' - Olympic champion Eilidh McIntyre on her sailing future

Olympic champion Eilidh McIntyre is currently observing the longest period out of the water she can recall - and who can blame her?

By Lewis Mason
Monday, 20th December 2021, 12:52 pm
Eilidh McIntyre with her Olympic 470 Class gold medal. Picture: Sam Stephenson
Eilidh McIntyre with her Olympic 470 Class gold medal. Picture: Sam Stephenson

After all, the Old Portsmouth resident’s years of sacrifices saw her reach the sporting pinnacle back in August.

It was on the Enoshima waters at the Tokyo Games when McIntyre, 27, felt a lifetime of 'pressure' lifted off her shoulders in what would be the proudest moment for any sportsperson.

Eilidh McIntyre, left, and Hannah Mills have just been crowned Tokyo Games 470 Class women's Olympic champions. Picture: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

So, how has life changed for McIntyre? Well, she hasn't set foot on a boat since Olympic glory - and is loving every minute of some rare time away from the water and training.

‘I haven’t trained, I haven’t done anything, I haven’t been back on a boat and I’ve barely been back in the gym (since winning Olympic gold), to be honest,' she revealed.

‘I’ve fully taken time off. I haven’t stopped for 12 years to get to this journey and to win gold, for me, I’ve needed this time to figure out, recuperate and get the energy back that I need to try again and give it another go.

Eilidh McIntyre attends the Team GB Ball at Battersea Evolution last month. Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images.

‘I’m not even 100 per cent sure whether I’m ready for another cycle yet, but I feel like I’ll give it a go because I owe it to the team and myself.

‘I’ve really struggled (getting back since winning Olympic gold). Some people are already back and I’m struggling to get back.

‘I feel like I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to, so it’s hard to keep pushing. I’m trying to figure out, alongside sailing, what other things I want to achieve in life and do.’

With attention now turning to Paris 2024 and Tokyo consigned to the record books, how would the tag of ‘double Olympic champion’ sound for McIntyre? Well, in what is already an unenviable task, claiming 470 Games glory again has been made even tougher with mixed crews only permitted in her class moving forward in a huge shake-up.

Eilidh McIntyre, left, and Hannah Mills celebrate their Olympic gold medal win. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images.

What it does mean is McIntyre could become the last all-female crew 470 Class Olympic champion and first to do so under the new mixed crew format. And, after all, she is one half of the first-ever GB parent-child combination to win Olympic gold.

But McIntyre, planning on returning to the water in Vilamoura, Portugal next month alongside new class partner Martin Wrigley, is fully aware just how tough standing top of the podium in Paris 2024 will prove - but she'll certainly be giving it all she's got.

‘I want to give it a go, I don’t know if I’m 100 per cent in yet, but I’m going to give it a go,’ said McIntyre.

‘If it looks like we can push for a gold - things have changed - it’s not like I’m going to do the same thing again so it’s harder to say for certain whether we’ll be at the top, I don’t know.

‘I’m going to give it a go, see how we get on, and give it a little try really.

‘It’s definitely different, it changes the game and the sport a bit, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. It’s part of the fun mixing it up.

‘It is definitely a different challenge, which makes it appealing to try again, I could be the last ever Olympic champion in the female 470 Class and the first mixed - that would be pretty cool.’