The road to Athens was long and difficult even after I qualified for it. Long waits, both on and off the water in 35°-plus summer heat, because of fickle, shifty winds made competition conditions very trying. The long days didn’t leave me very much time to interact with the other Singapore Olympians, or to watch them (or athletes from other countries) compete. However, this was part of the game of sailing and my job was to continue to perform nonetheless.
Staying at the Athletes Village is without a doubt a key part of the Olympic experience. For two weeks, this was home to some 10,000 Olympians, and a couple thousand more volunteers and officials. I always looked forward to heading to the huge, 24-hour dining hall after a long hot day of sailing to wind down with a nice meal (while trying to spot another famous athlete!).
Another highlight for me was the Opening Ceremony of the Games. Even after my prior experience at the Sydney Olympics, hearing the roar of the packed Olympic Stadium and seeing a million camera flashes exploding as the Singapore contingent marched onto the running track still filled me with excitement and awe.
For me, the Athens Olympics will always be special because it was the realization of a five-year, full-time sailing plan to pursue sporting excellence and compete at the Olympic Games. And to have represented Singapore twice at the Olympics is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.