Paul Tingley isn't in London to "defend" his Paralympic Games sailing title. Make no mistake about it - the 42-year-old from Halifax believes he's more than capable of repeating as the champion of the 2.4mR class he mastered in 2008 in Beijing.
He's done everything possible to get ready for his fourth Paralympic competition, including training with Swedish coach Stellan Berlin in waters off the English coast to prepare himself for the conditions he'll face in the days to come.
But defence doesn't seem to be in the playbook of the sailor nicknamed The Gambler in some circles for his penchant for taking risks - many of which tend to pay off in a big way.
"I have to just look at it as a new game, everyone's got a legitimate shot at it and I've gotta go out with a strong offence and not try to defend," Tingley said.
"That (2008) was yesterday's news. I think I would be silly to look back and pump myself up as defending gold medallist because that's not going to help me on the race course."
Tingley, paralyzed in a skiing accident when he was 24, won the 2008 mixed single-person keelboat regatta in Beijing with a gamble.
One of five competitors with a shot at gold entering the final race, he and another sailor opted to go against conventional wisdom and split away from the other 14 boats. It paid off with a Paralympic championship.
"There was a lot of kind of make your calls from your gut and this was no time to shy away from a tough decision," he said.
Reprinted from: John Curtis, Wind Athletes Canada Website
Story By Mark Stevens • Photographs by Sharon Matthews-Stevens
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