Even when you’re heading into your third Olympic Games with two medals already in your back pocket, you still get nervous – just ask Hannah Mills.
The Cardiff sailor is a veteran of the 470 class, having won silver on home waters at London 2012 and upgrading to gold four years later in Rio, but has a new partner for Tokyo in the form of Eilidh McIntyre.
After an anxious wait, they got their campaign underway on Wednesday afternoon and made a solid start – finishing fourth in the opening race of the day and third in the following contest to lie third in the overall standings at this early stage.
There are still eight more races, and the medal race, to come over the next week but Mills was delighted to finally get going and insists it still means as much as ever.
“I wouldn’t like to say I was more nervous than my first Olympics, it’s hard to remember!” smiled Mills, whose races are being broadcast live on Eurosport and Discovery+.
“But I was really nervous and I think the first day is always the worst.
“You’re just waiting and waiting and waiting. We were last to start out of the sailing and we were on at 2:30pm, and there was just an anticipation.
“Also we thought it might be 20 to 25 knots, so we were up for some big breeze and then it wasn’t quite that much but the waves were still really big.
“For a first day, it was just phenomenal conditions and it’s what we remember of sailing in Japan.
“I think the extra year wait has definitely added to that excitement. I think Tokyo 2020 have done a phenomenal job of making everything look amazing, it looks very Olympic and feels very Olympic.
“I don’t think our fleet has ever had as much depth as it has at the moment, which is great to see.
“It just means we’re going to have to battle all the harder to be up there on the podium. We feel in a good place and it’s a long week. We’re happy with our start and we’ll see how we progress.”
Mills may have not got out on the water until Wednesday but she has already been an important part of Tokyo 2020 – given the honour of being Team GB’s flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony alongside rower Moe Sbihi.
And it’s an experience that will live with her for a long time.
“My favourite moment of the opening ceremony? Definitely walking in with the flag alongside Moe [Sbihi],” she added.
“It was so nice to do it with someone else who is so humble and an incredible athlete. And to be the first male and female flag bearers together was really special.
“It’s definitely not something I’d ever thought I’d get asked or have the opportunity to do. I just felt really proud and overwhelmed really. It was very emotional but amazing.”
Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, the Streaming Home of the Olympics.