Jo Aleh watched New Zealand go to victory in the 1995 America’s Cup and asked her father if she could learn to sail and from there she has gone on to carve a highly successful career in dinghy sailing culminating in achieving the Gold medal at London 2012
Here’s what Jo has to say
Why is advancing women in sailing important to you?
As a woman competing at Olympic level for the last 12 years I have found it difficult at times to see the inequality of opportunities for women in comparison to their male counterparts. I think sailing should be a sport where there is no bias, where there are equal opportunities, and it will only happen if we really get together and push for it.
Who do you see as a role model in women’s sport and why?
As far as sailing goes, Leslie Egnot is someone I have always looked up to, as a fellow New Zealander, who won a medal at the Olympics and then skippered Mighty Mary in the 1995 Americas Cup defender trials, to take on the big boys in what is very much their domain. She reminds me that we don’t have to take these norms for rules, and we can keep pushing out into new areas of our sport.
An little insight into what your road to Rio looks like in terms of training/regattas/time off/acclimatisation time in Rio etc?
With only three months to go until the Games, its all go, I have two training blocks in Rio planned, a mix of training and practice racing with the rest of the fleet, combined with off the water fitness and rehab to keep the body in shape! We have two blocks of time in NZ before as well, with an emphasis on recovery and refreshing as well as a little sailing to keep sharp in the boat. We arrive for the Games about twelve days before, enough time to get over jet lag, do all the final prep and hopefully be all ready to go August 10th!
I believe that a young woman coming into our sport today should have the same opportunities available to her as her male counterparts, and the only way to make that a reality is to show her that it is possible. For me being a part of the Magenta Project is helping to lead the way in creating this new reality.
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