Last week we finally had the long-awaited arbitration hearing. If you have been reading the news and blogs, you will already know that the decision did not go my way. The arbitrator made his decision based on the issue of due process, not on the merits of the decision of the Olympic Trials Jury who improved the score of the second place competitor. It was refreshing to be able to make my case to an independent arbitrator, and I was grateful for the opportunity to tell my story. Even though the outcome wasn’t what I had hoped it to be, it’s been a very defining time in my life.
I learned many lessons during this ordeal. It’s made me step up my game in a big way both on and off the racecourse. I’ve become much more confident, and have learned what it means to play the game of professional and Olympic sailing, and how to successfully run a full-time campaign. I have dealt with a lot of press, both positive and negative publicity, and enjoyed every minute. I proved to myself that I have the drive, the passion, and the killer instinct necessary to succeed at sport. I have known that I had this all along, but I relished the opportunity to fully apply it to my life and change myself for the better.
The decision marks the end of my campaign for the 2008 Olympic Games. However, it also creates new beginnings. First of all, I hope my case will be used to create change within the USOC rules, to make sure something like this can’t happen again. It also is the beginning of my campaign for 2012. Next week I return to Europe to begin a summer of training in Poland. There’s nowhere to go from here but higher and higher!