Tunnicliffe non-committal on plans to return to Olympic campaigning
American Olympic medal hopes for Tokyo 2020 could receive a boost if the return of 2008 Laser Radial gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe to competitive sailing proves successful at the Sailing World Cup in Miami this week.
34-year-old Tunnicliffe – who was born in the north of England but moved to the USA at the age of 12 - won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the Laser Radial but missed out on a women’s match racing medal at the London 2012 Olympics. In 2014 she shut down her 49erFX campaign to focus on her burgeoning career as a CrossFit athlete.
Tunnicliffe was a true star of the US Olympic sailing scene. In 2011 she claimed the Women’s Match Racing world title and between 2008 and 2011 she was named US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year on four consecutive occasions.
Her performance in Miami this week will no doubt be watched keenly by US Sailing’s newly appointed Chief of Olympic Sailing, Malcolm Page who is tasked with building a medal winning American sailing squad in time for Tokyo 2020 and would dearly love to have a powerhouse like Tunnicliffe in his line-up.
Tunnicliffe still plans to continue to compete on the CrossFit circuit this season and has been non-committal on whether her first serious regatta in three years will herald a full return to Olympic campaigning.
"I'm just here to see how I feel, and to figure out if a new campaign is something I want to do," she said this weekend. "I'm coming in with no expectations, and no goals in terms of results.
The 33 boat Laser Radial fleet competing in Miami this week will be no push over. Despite Tunnicliffe’s pedigree, the favourites for the podium places will be 2016 world champion Alison Young (GBR) and London 2012 bronze medallist Evi van Acker (BEL).
Paige Railey, the US Laser Radial representative at Rio 2016, is not competing in Miami.