At 41 years old, Alessandra Sensini will be one of the veterans competing in the RS:X class in the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, but despite 28 years in the sport, the Italian windsurfer says she still has plenty to learn.
“You have to work hard,” she said. “You have to keep working and not think that you have learned everything.” “Perfection doesn’t exist.” Recently selected to represent Italy at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Sensini’s philosophy is serving her well, with the Italian looking to use Perth 2011 as an opportunity to qualify in the RS:X class, not to mention scope out her future Olympic competition.
“For me it’s a very important event to see where I am with training and where my competitors are with theirs,” she said. “I know them all but it’s always very interesting to see how they are doing.” After making her Olympic debut almost 10 years ago at the Barcelona Games in 1992, London 2012 will be Sensini’s sixth Olympic campaign. While she never imagined she would remain competitive for so long, Sensini says she is happy to still be involved at the highest level, even if it doesn’t always come easy.
“It’s true that it is very hard to stay at the top for so long,” she said, “because the stress gets higher and higher. It doesn’t get any less. It’s not true what they say about experience making things easier. The tension gets higher and higher. In a way it’s like a pain that you learn to live with.”
But despite the “pain,” Sensini says she still loves being out on the water as much as ever. “Windsurfing, it’s a passion that you have,” she said. “I love the sea, I love the waves, I love the wind. To go sailing in conditions where you put yourself in extreme situations, I love this. It’s a challenge that you have mostly with yourself.”
After almost three decades in the sport, Sensini would be excused for considering retirement. However, the Italian says packing away the windsurfer is not something she is considering any time soon.
“Of course it’s hard to stay for so long, but I think I can still give something,” she said. “It’s not my time to stop yet. It’s my life and I don’t think I can give it up yet. When I am full of it I will stop.”