Olympic Stories: Connor Bainbridge

1. Connor, qualifying Great Britain in the KiteFoil at the Last Chance Regatta must have been intense. Can you describe what the atmosphere was like during the competition?

It was like no competition I have done before from the intensity of the runup to the event to how hard everyone was pushing around the course obviously it means a huge amount to everyone competing and that was evident during the whole regatta, I wouldn’t say it was the most enjoyable competition I have done far from but I think it gave me great learnings and puts me in a great position going into the Olympics this summer!

2. Securing qualification at such a crucial moment, what went through your mind when you made it?

I think relief more than anything else its been an incredibly tough year for me after not qualifying at both the worlds and Europeans being considered a ‘sure thing’ at both those events but in hindsight the learning were more valuable than anything else.

3. Leading up to the Last Chance Regatta, how did you prepare specifically for this event, knowing it was your final opportunity to qualify?

The preparation really started in February where we were already selected the equipment I would use that the event, after that it was carefully planned training and racing program with the Europeans being used as a training regatta to really train some skills we hadn’t been able to practice over the winter. After that it was a case of keeping my body and mind ready all the way up to the event.

4. As KiteFoil makes its debut in the Olympics, how have you seen the class evolve since you started competing in it?

It’s definitely changed substantially since I started properly competing on the professional circuit from travelling the world on my own with one board bag to now travelling with a van full of gear with a coach, caddy, physio at most of the events it has all just become way more professional. Its been great to be apart of that transformation and it didn’t happen all at ones but it is a different sport to when I started competing!

5. With KiteFoil debuting at the Olympics, and this being your first Olympic Games, how are you approaching this new challenge both mentally and technically?

For me I am trying to treat the Olympic like any other competition in the way I am preperaring for sure it is going to be different with more media and more going on in the background but I think if I can prepare and compete like its any other event I am tryiong to perform at I will be in a much better place to get the result I am looking for.

6. What do you think Olympic inclusion will mean for the future of KiteFoil and kiteboarding in general?

I think it has already put kitefoiling on the map and showing the world how amazing our sport is it will look incredible in Marseille and I hope we see an influx of people wanted to take part and compete especially the next generation of sailors.

7. What do the worlds “Olympic Games” mean to you?

For me it has been a life long dream to compete at the Olympics, not only for myself and to represent great Britain but in the hope it can inspire the next generation of young sailors as I was inspired watching my idols in windsurfing all those years ago!