BST blog – Anna Burnet – Getting back to normal…sort of

Written by 2nd September 2020 Blog, Tokyo 2020

Over the next year we will be bringing you guest blogs from the Tokyo 2020 selected athletes who will give you an insight in to their lives in the run up to the Olympic Games – this month, Anna Burnet of TeamGBNacra.

In some ways things feel a little strange but in others it feels totally normal.

Myself and John are currently in Europe and we have been since the day the borders opened up and we were allowed to leave the UK. As the country slowly begins to return to some kind of pre-corona normality, we have fully immersed ourselves into ours.

Over the past couple of years we have been training in a group with the Austrian and Argentinian Nacra teams away from the UK, so our normal is just that.

At the first opportunity to leave the UK we hopped on a ferry from Plymouth to Santander to meet up with the other nations Nacra teams – we met up with the Spanish, Finnish and Austrians – to do a training block.

It actually felt weird driving out of the country – we were nervous as we hadn’t been away in so long – but we quickly got over that and we were back in the swing of things.

From Santander we moved on to Italy to meet up with three Italian teams, but also our core group of Austrians and Argentinians. Ever since we first met up in Uruguay we have trained together and it really is a good group. We enjoy pushing each other and there are a lot of medals in the group from major events so it’s a strong, but healthy, competition.

Like I’ve said, we have tried to keep it to ‘business as usual’ as much as we can, but now we just wear masks and are conscious of social distancing. Our normal routine of sailing is generally so focussed that it means we don’t really mix with the outside world anyway. We have found that we have minimised our supermarket shops though.

It’s good to have support from our families back home as well. I know that it can be daunting to have loved ones go away at a time like this, but they fully understand our decisions.

Our families have always backed us to do what is best for us for our sailing goals, and because of this I think they are happier that we are getting back to normal. They would actually be more worried if we weren’t able to do what we know we have to and to train with good quality. They trust that if its ok for us to go and good for us as a team, then it is good with them.

We did have a few days back in the UK when John was doing some big boat coaching, but it was straight back to Italy before hopefully moving on to Kiel for our first regatta in a long time. Then the plan is on to Austria, but plans are quite fluid as things change all the time.

Our main goal is to stay with the core tuning group so generally our plan is a three-way plan. And just out of sheer luck more than judgement so far, the countries we have been to have been in a good place. We have felt quite safe wherever we are.

I know there has been a lot of talk about the Olympics and how people feel about the decision to postpone, but for us, it was such a short time between being selected and the original start date we never really had time to think about it. For us it was sort of – get selected and straight in to thinking the games was in 2021 – we didn’t really have that time to think. But for sure we know we have to use this time wisely now. And we have been.

We got Adam May (BST tech guru) out with us for a few days last month to look at some technical elements like what kit to use at the Olympics – we have the opportunity to do that now so we are.

Fingers crossed we can push ahead with our plans and stay with our little core group. We will have Iain Percy coming out to join us now and again for coaching but we are comfortable now doing a lot of self-coaching. But also, we know we can have the right input from the right people when we need it.