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Tom Ashley - Aiming for 2012

NZ Herald: Tom Ashley can't remember the last time he was asked for an autograph. The Beijing Olympic boardsailing gold medallist says that, other than some local Devonport kids, he hasn't been recognised in public since late 2008. The lack of profile is no problem for the 26-year-old; in fact it seems to suit him. "I think it is great, it's an advantage," he says. "It would be quite tiresome being a celebrity."

Ashley is extremely affable but notoriously focused. He disappeared in the months leading up to the 2008 Olympics, relocating to Valencia to train and changing his contact details. It will be a similar modus operandi leading into the London Olympics of 2012.

"I've always had a clearly defined goal to work towards. It is about making sure that every decision I make is going to get me closer to that.

"Sport is rewarding because you can measure your performance; if you work harder, you go better."

He aims to peak just twice in 2011: A world cup meet at the Olympic venue in June, followed by the world championships in Perth in December.

"I'll only focus on results for those two; the other events are really just training events.

[My competitors] can get as excited as they want about winning the small events but it only really counts at the big ones."

Ashley is supremely dedicated, but there is balance on and off the board.

Aside from completing his first year of law in 2009, he also studied German and Italian to add to his stable of languages (he is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese; passable in French).

When he says the weekly training workload (up to 700km on the bike; 20 hours on the water; eight hours on the gym) is "fun", you believe him.

Full story : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10685934

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