Olympians revisit their old club

Last updated 11:57 04/10/2012
ALEH
JOHN SELKIRK
SAILING HOME: Yachting Olympian gold medallists Jo Aleh, left, and Olivia Powrie.

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What do Olympic gold medallists do after four years of intensive training for the Games?

The answer is - anything they like.

Back home now, both Jo Aleh of Muriwai and team-mate Olivia Powrie are enjoying having the freedom to do as they please.

They won gold in the women's 470 class in August.

Sailing's on the backburner for now and the women have been doing all the high-risk activities they were barred from during their four-year preparation.

They've been skiing at Ruapehu and did a 12-hour mountain bike challenge called the Day Night Thriller.

Powrie, 24, is also studying towards a business degree at Massey University.

"It's nice to have a change and have that balance. We spend every day together and you have your trying moments, like everybody, but as long as you are enjoying it, you get these fantastic highs - like winning an Olympic gold medal. Now it's time for a bit of a break as this is the first real time off we have had in four years. So that's it from us for at least a few months. Until we figure out what to do next," she says.

The women met at Kohimarama Yacht Club when they were 11 and sailed against each other in the P class.

They visited their old club's open day to meet the juniors and inspire a few Olympic dreams.

"Jo was a bit better than me but I was reasonably good at it. We would always go down to the club with the other kids. It was a nice way to grow up - to live close to the sea and play in the sun," Powrie says. "Jo and I spent many hours battling it out with each other on the waters off Kohi - looking up to the generation above us and wondering how they made it competing overseas."

Aleh, 26, says she prefers a bike over a boat to stay active nowadays but she's got wonderful memories.

"I remember when I was young seeing the Olympic sailors and just never thinking I could actually make it to where they were. Hopefully we can share how we made it to the Olympics and how anyone else, who is driven, can do it too."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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