Beijing Olympic gold medallist and world #1 Laser Radial skipper Anna TUNNICLIFFE of the USA is one of the star attractions at the open event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne.
The Florida based Beijing gold medallist is in Melbourne this week for the inaugural first leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Sail Melbourne. At the completion of the first day of racing in the Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial fleet, everything is going to plan with TUNNICLIFFE sitting in a familiar position at the top of the leaderboard.
TUNNICLIFFE wanted to spend more time in her boat before her first USA team qualifying event in Miami next month. Although she spent Tuesday bobbing around in Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay due to disappointing light air conditions, she got her ISAF Sailing World Cup campaign off to a strong start of Wednesday with 3,2,1 scores in the opening three races putting her top of the leaderboard.
The talented athlete, who knocked back a couple of College Track scholarship offers at the end of High School to concentrate on sailing, is here to get some racing under her belt and to kick start her claim on the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Radial title.
"The next regatta is the US team qualifier in Miami [US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, the second event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup] and I wanted to have an event before that and it's the first regatta of the World Cup which I am going for too," TUNNICLIFFE said.
"I just want to get top three, work on my fitness and tactics and get back into racing again," she added.
TUNNICLIFFE, 24, who married fellow US Laser sailor Brad FUNK in May this year, has enjoyed an outstandingly successful 2008.
A wedding, capped off with an Olympic gold medal, followed by wins in both the US Women's Match Racing Championships and ISAF Nations Cup North American and Caribbean Regional Final, cemented her position as the world's #1 ranked women's Laser Radial sailor in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
Still not satisfied, TUNNICLIFFE admits back-to-back Olympic gold is what she ultimately aspires to achieve and she's not one to give up easily.
Graduating from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia with a double major in Accounting and Decision Sciences, TUNNICLIFFE has proven time and again her ability to achieve goals is far superior to many.
"I'm a pretty driven person and I try to succeed at whatever I set my mind to - it would be fantastic to win another gold medal but I know it will probably be harder again this time," she admitted with a quiet confidence.
"But if I do it again it will just prove it was worth all of the effort I've put in … but right now I'm just thinking of the small goals that I have to achieve to get there."
TUNNICLIFFE will be back on the water tomorrow, hoping to make the most of the forecast 20 knot winds to extend her overall lead.
ISAF Sailing World Cup
The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:
16-21 Dec 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-28 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain
Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.