CHARLOTTE Dobson has waited long enough for her Olympic moment that another year appears just a ripple on the ocean.

The 34-year-old from Rhu narrowly missed out on selection for the Beijing and London Games, and nearly called time on her sailing career – only to join forces with Sophie Ainsworth in a bid to make it third time lucky in Rio.

However, an eighth-place finish left the former Lomond School pupil contemplating what to do next.

And while many might daydream of swapping the office for life on the ocean wave, she was ready to do exactly the opposite.

“After Rio I thought that was it, I thought it was time to get a real job, I’ve always really enjoyed finance and I thought I’d do that, like my mum,” said Dobson, one of more than 1,100 athletes on the National Lottery-funded UK Sport World Class Programme.

READ MORE: Helensburgh area's sailors retain Team GB places for 2021 Olympic Games

“I was just deflated with the performance because I genuinely thought we had so much more to give than that.

“It’s tough when you’ve worked your entire life for something and then it just doesn’t really live up to your expectations.

“If I didn’t feel I could put together a team to win a gold medal then I was kind of done with it.”

Soon after returning from Rio, Dobson caught a flight to Tokyo on a reconnaissance mission that would decide her future, taking inspiration from the Japanese saying ‘nanakorobi yaoki’ – which translates as ‘when life knocks you down, stand back up’.

“It’s was a way of moving forward and deciding what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” she said.

“I had no idea what I’d do when I got on the plane.

“There were so many questions: what does the next cycle even look like? Do I want to do it? Do I think I can do it?”

Her mind made up, the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club (RNCYC) member teamed up with Saskia Tidey, who competed in Rio for Ireland but qualified for Great Britain via her father, and together the pair have become podium regulars, with a silver medal at the World Championships earlier this year signalling clearly their Olympic intent.

READ MORE: A day in the life of a world-class athlete in lockdown

“I made the first move,” Dobson added.

“The first year was about working out who on earth we were as a team and how we would work together.

“The roles in the boat require such different personality types.

“We’re a good team because of our differences. Working out how to get the best from each other is a process and we’ve got a bonus year to learn more now.

“Saskia has such an effervescent personality. She’s an amazing person to be around.”

Their selection was finalised last October but an anxious wait followed when the news of the Games postponement was announced, their spots finally reconfirmed just over a fortnight later.

It means that 669 days will have passed between call-up and finally taking to the water in their bid to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won since National Lottery funding was introduced in 1997.

For Dobson – one of a trio of RNCYC sailors who will be part of the Team GB sailing squad next year, alongside Anna Burnet and Luke Patience – that means another year of preparation and forensic attention to detail, another year to put off the lure not of the sea, but a ‘real job’.

* No-one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has at and #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo.

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