Mathew Belcher

Mathew Belcher
Mathew Belcher

MATHEW BELCHER

Sailor

What does your standard training week involve?
During a normal weeks training we typically are on the water 5 to 6 dayโ€™s a week. This changes on what period we are in our schedule. Our training and racing loads vary day to day depending on the weather conditions. On a lighter wind day we might add in a gym session after training or a light jog. Stronger wind days we might only do one session and focus more of recovery after sailing. Our coach is very flexible and likes to adapt our sessions to suit specific goals.

Where is your favourite place to train?
Sydney harbor, there are so many complexities to training and racing there. You could spend your whole life training there and still be made to look like an idiot when racing. The harbor is an incredibly difficult place to race and train, but rewarding when you get it right.

What is your favourite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why?
Would have to say the Elite Long Sleeve Compression Top and Elite Compression Tights. We wear these each training and racing days underneath our wetsuits. It helps with our recovery especially as our competition is drawn out over a weeks racing.

What is your favourite training accessory?
My Garmin 310XT running watch and iPod.

What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?
Failing to gain selection for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Australia was ranked number one and two in the world, with only one spot allowed. We missed selections but our training partners won Olympic Gold in 2008. As our coach says, trust yourself and follow your dreams. I kept on after 10 years and now will get the opportunity in London 2012. Sport is sport, anything can happen. Focus on yourself and your own performance. Things then usually fall in place.

Whatโ€™s the most common training mistake you see on the circuit? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?
Having too high expectations and comparing too much on other peoples performances. There are so many factors and variables in sailing that sometimes you just can't get it right. Thatโ€™s why we have 10 races over 5 days to determine the winner. If you want it bad enough you usually get it, but no one said it would be easy achieving it.

What motivates you to train and race harder?
The Olympics, everything we do is about standing on top of the podium in London 2012.

Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:
We really donโ€™t have to worry so much about this as long as we maintain a stable body weight. We have different targets depending on the conditions we are expecting to face over the weeks racing.

How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?
One thing that this sport develops is great time management skills. We usually do our own equipment development (with expert advisors in specific fields), logistics coordination of ourselves and equipment across Europe, USA and Australia. We also managed our personal sponsors and marketing when not training. I'm lucky that my wife, also competes in Olympic sailing so she understands what we are trying to achieve and the sacrifices that go along with it. My family and friends are huge supporters of what Iโ€™m doing which also makes it easier.

What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful (either for training or competition)?
I usually take Centrium's each day. While the usual electrolytes on the water to stay hydrated after spending long hours on the water.

Best and worst thing about being a professional athlete:
Being able to personally develop myself as an individual. Sport brings out the extremes in people and to have the opportunity to develop these qualities, as well as earning the recognition amongst your peers. The worst would be packing my suitcase. After all the travel I still donโ€™t know how to pack properly.

In five years time, I'll be:
Hopefully an Olympic Gold medalist, have kids, still be married and maybe a real job?

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2011 and 2010 - Gold 470 World Championship
  • 2011 and 2010 - Gold World Cup Championship
  • 2011 - Silver at Olympic test event
  • Gold in almost every Grade 1 Regatta in European and Oceania regions
  • 2011 - QAS Athlete of the Year Finalist
  • 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007 - Yachting Australia Sailor of the Year Finalist
  • 2011 Jan, 2010, 2007 - Ranked World Number 1 in 470 Class
  • Qsport Queensland Athlete of the Year Finalist 2011
  • 2010 - Rolex International Sailing Federation World Sailor of the Year Finalist
  • 2010 - AIS Team of the Year Finalist
  • 2004, 2000 - Gold & Silver 420 World Championship