Elise Rechichi

2003 Collegian


I began Sailing in 1993 when I was seven-years-old. To be honest, it wasn't something I was particularly interested in at the time, but my parents thought it was a good way to keep an overactive seven-year-old occupied.

I started racing from a young age, and competed on a national and international level as a junior. It really wasn't until I was in Year 12 in 2003 that the possibility of making selection for the 2008 Beijing Olympics became a reality.

Without a doubt, winning gold at the Beijing Olympics has been the highlight of my career. I remember been so nervous in Beijing that I was sick every day. In order to overcome the nerves I just told myself to stay calm and perform my skills as I had done thousands of times before. At an Olympic level, from a technical standpoint, everyone's skills are almost matched. However, it is those who can perform those skills under enormous pressure with a high degree of reliability that determines who will end up on top.

It was tough to go back to the London Olympics in 2012 as the defending champion and only to finish seventh overall. I didn't have great preparation leading in, and knew from the outset that my team mate and I probably wouldn't walk away with a medal.

While the results in many ways polarise my two Olympic experiences, with time I have come to appreciate that the journey; the extreme ups and downs, the emotions and subsequently the lessons learned are truly the most fulfilling aspect of Olympic sport and not the results. While the gold medal is the highlight, the reward for that is fleeting. It is the resilience that I have acquired along the way that has made the sacrifice worthwhile, and I will be rewarded for it for the rest of my life.

I plan to continue on to the Rio Olympics in 2016, but I'm taking things more year to year these days. I am looking forward to other adventures life has to offer. I would like to study Medicine when I completely retire from sport. It is something I have wanted to do since a young child, and to this day still do.

On MLC: I remember my teachers getting annoyed at me for talking too much, or when I wasn't talking, falling asleep because I was tired from training!