Lenka Smidova on winning (and almost losing!) the Czech Republic's firstever Olympic medal in sailing
Lenka Smidova made a little bit of history recently, when she took the Czech Republic's first ever Olympic medal in sailing, a silver in the "Europe" category. Since returning from Athens, Lenka - who spends nine months of the year on the sea in various parts of the world - has been enjoying some time at home, attending numerous events celebrating her success. I spoke to the Olympic medal winner in Prague on Tuesday, and asked her if she had been confident of success ahead of the Athens Games.
Earlier you were saying that you made mistakes but your competitors made more mistakes - aren't you just being modest?
"Yes (laughs), kind of. Sailing is about mistakes, and whoever makes the least mistakes wins the regatta and that's exactly what happened at the Olympics. I don't feel that I sailed the greatest regatta of my life, but I just sailed better than the others."
Were you satisfied with silver, or were you dissatisfied that you didn't take gold?
"No, I'm very happy with the silver medal. I thought I would have been the most happy sailor to get a bronze medal. Because I really didn't care - I wanted to get any medal that was available. So I'm happy with silver, more happy than getting bronze."
Your silver was the first ever Czech Olympic medal in sailing - was that a big thrill for you?
"Well I wasn't thinking about that, I wasn't thinking about getting the first medal in sailing. I was just concentrating on the regatta itself, and on every race itself. I just wanted to be the best in every race. And then I put it together, and the second last day I realised I was very close to getting a silver medal. It thrilled me a little bit but I tried to stay relaxed and tried to beat the others in the last race."
Now you have your medal in your handbag with you here, but I understand that you lost it on the day that you won it.
"That's true, but I didn't lose it on the day that I got it. I lost it a few days later at the closing ceremony. I was just happy to show it to everyone who wanted to see it and I was taking pictures with a lot of athletes and I kind of lost my mind a little bit and didn't pay attention to where I put it, and it must have fallen out of my pocket, I don't really know, but I found it again and I'm happy to have it now!"