Tamara Echegoyen, the Olympic champion in sailing from Spain, speaks exclusively to aBoatTime.com about her Olympic medal in London 2012, obtained in the Match Race class, about her future plans and her yachting experience. You don’t want to miss it!

Why did you start sailing? I was too small to remember exact reasons, but they were my parents who introduced me to the world of sailing. I started at 6 years, and I’m still inseparable from the sea.

What feelings did you have before the London Olympic Games? Did you imagine yourself getting a medal? We knew the challenge was difficult, but I never thought it was impossible. However before the Games the thought about the medals wasn’t in my mind. I only wanted to sail and enjoy the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games. It was a prize for work and sacrifice of many years searching for the Olympic dream.

What differentiates the Games from the other competitions? They are magical. You are preparing for that competition for four years. To be there, you have to compete against other countries their national teams. Not all the countries can go there and those which can, only have one team participating. There are many sailors who have a sufficient level to be there, but not all of them can go. You feel privileged once you get the chance to be there.

How did you feel being there and knowing that the whole country was watching you? Honestly, I didn’t think about this aspect at that moment. I was just thinking about doing the best I can. And I did.

Were you surprised that stars like Pau Gasol and Rafa Nadal were following your action in the Olympic Games and congratulated you after your success? It was a pleasant surprise, and now social networks allow you to be informed about everything. They are great athletes who enjoy what they are doing, their sport.

Spanish Olympic Sailing team on the podium

Spanish Gold medalists on the podium. First on the left – Tamara Echegoyen.

In your opinion, why sailing is the sport with the most medals in Spain? The level of sailing sport in Spain is very high. Not only that of the Olympic classes, but also in the youth, children, other non-Olympic and the ocean ones. We have great sailors to follow and a strong quarry pushing from below. Perhaps, being surrounded by water also helps!

What is your next goal? Do you think about the 2016 Olympic Games or Rio still seems too far? I have many projects in my mind, now all I have to do is to polish them. But surely I’ll fight to be in the Rio 2016 Olympics, just in another way, as the Match Race will no longer be olympic.

Do you believe that your medal will change something in the sailing world of Spain? It has already changed. We managed to bring the sailing sport closer to the Spanish people. Lot of people saw our final competition against the Australian team, people, who had never seen any sailing race before. I just hope that this enthusiasm will remain and convert these people into sailing fans.

Changing the topic, have you ever gone sailing with friends, for fun? Yes, I’ve sailed also for fun. Unconsciously, I always trim the sails.

And where? In the Rias Baixas, in Galicia (Spain).

Which destination do you recommend for sailing? In Spain, the above mentioned Rias Baixas as well as the Rías Altas, these places are a true paradise. I would like to encourage everyone to discover them.

Do you ever consider renting a recreational boat? Of course, as it gives you an opportunity to see places you travel to from a different point of view as well as to enjoy the sea at the maximum, day and night.