Work in Sports
American boat sailor Mark Reynolds
Competing in his fourth Olympics, Star boat sailor Mark Reynolds aims for a third medal in Sydney with his new crew Magnus Lijedahl. Reynolds won a silver medal in 1988 and a gold in 1992, and finished eighth in 1996. The 44-year-old father of three from San Diego, California, is looking to improve on that in Sydney.
1. Whatís it like being in Sydney?
It is great, especially for sailing, because the entire city is on the water. But Sydney is a difficult place to sail this time of year. The winds in springtime are unpredictable and change a lot around here. But at least it is the same deal for everyone.
2. How will these Games differ from your previous three?
I am more relaxed now due to my experience. My crew, Magnus, is at the Olympics for the first time. He is wide-eyed and excited. It is nice to have Magnus with such a high energy level. Often the Olympic sailing venue is in another city, but here we are in the middle of the action. We get to be with the other athletes. It is a lot more fun!
3. During the last Olympics you placed eighth and said you took too many risks. How will you change your strategy during these Games?
The thing about sailing is there are a lot of variables. We may get in the same situation and those risks could pay off. I learned a lot from last time. We will go out there fairly conservatively like I did last Olympics. I canít say what we did in Savannah is a lot different than Barcelona. We have to guess what the wind is doing. We were just out of sync with it, so this time we will be more open-minded. We just have to figure out the winds.
4. Do you still get nervous?
I still get a little nervous. Iíd like to think Iím less nervous than my competitors. Iíve been doing this a long time. I do well under pressure. Thatís why I am successful. I try to stay cool. I think we are going to medal this year.
5. What is your relationship with your crew, Magnus?
A boat with two people makes you have to work together. A lot is done without talking about it. We know what each other is going to do next. He is real high energy, which is great to have on the boat. I am a lot more laid back and relaxed than Magnus. We are a good balance, a good team. We trust each other knows what we are doing and we interact well.
6. You are a big music fan. Do you listen to music while sailing?
When I used to sail I had a song in my mind and I would just sing it over and over to myself. I had forgotten about that. It just went away. Now, Magnus and I talk about songs while out on the water. We might sing lines out of songs by Bob Dylan or Neil Young. One of my favorite lines in a Bob Dylan song is, ďI donít need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.Ē
7. What impact did your father have on your sailing and do you have hopes for your children following in your footsteps?
My father tried out for the Olympics three times but never made it. He is here with me now along with my mom, wife, and children. When I was growing up, I was always around the Star boat. My dad was only a weekend trainer and did not travel around the world like we do. My dad definitely got me interested in what Iím doing. He gave me a sabot (small sailboat) when I was young. I would love for my two sons and daughter to get into sailing, but there is only so much you can do. I gave my children a sabot, but they werenít too thrilled. My daughter wants to compete in the Olympics in swimming. Sheís working hard on that now.
8. How much time per week do you spend sailing?
That is hard to say. I might sail everyday for a month and then not sail for three weeks. Generally, we go early to wherever the competition will be held just to train. I probably spend about a quarter of the year on the water. Iíve gone to Europe and sailed everyday for a month, but in November I might not sail at all.
9. Do you sail for relaxation or just for sport?
I donít have much time to sail for relaxation. Fifteen years ago, all I wanted to do is compete, but maybe as I get older I will like to do some cruising.
10. Will this be your last Olympic Games?
It is always possible that they will change the boats in the Olympics. If that happens, I most likely would not continue. If the Star stays in, I will probably try out for Greece and hopefully Magnus will as well. People are getting older in all sports. People are remaining more physically fit and use their experience to their advantage. I certainly wouldnít count out 2004.