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Slingsby to consider Olympic change
Adrian Warren
14:29 AEST Wed Aug 15 2012

Laser sailing gold medallist Tom Slingsby is contemplating a switch of class - if he decides not to retire from Olympic competition.

Slingsby returned to Australia on Wednesday in a vastly different frame of mind to his ill-fated Olympic campaign in Beijing four years ago.

On that occasion, his Olympic dream turned into a nightmare after he finished a lowly 22nd.

Fast forward four years and five-time Laser world champion Slingsby experienced a very different set of emotions after stepping back onto Australian soil.

"(Four years ago) I was at the back of the plane and when I finally got off, the media were interviewing the medallists and I just snuck straight out the back," Slingsby told AAP.

"Whereas today, being at the front of the plane and one of the first off, it was a huge contrast in emotions."

Slingsby said he'd been thinking about making London his last Olympics, but wouldn't make a decision until finishing his campaign with defending America's Cup champion, Oracle Team USA.

"I'm going to do this America's Cup for a bit and see how I enjoy that and then make a decision when I finish with them in October 2013," Slingsby said.

"If I went again, I'm not sure if I would stick with the Laser, I might change to the Finn or another class.

"I don't think I'll sail the Laser anymore, I think the Australian Laser is in really good shape, with our young guys coming through.

"Tom Burton is leading that charge, he's top five in the world and I think he'll be top one or two very shortly."

Slingsby will be one of the first of the 2012 crop of Australian gold medallists to be back in competition.

He will head to Hamilton Island on Thursday for the annual race week, where he will be among the crew on the sloop Black Jack, contesting the IRC Australian championship Grand Prix division.

470 gold medallist Malcolm Page, who carried the flag at the closing ceremony after becoming the first Australian to win two sailing gold medals, will continue competing, despite retiring from Olympic racing.

"I'm hanging up my stinky wetsuit shoes for Olympic competition, but I'm a sailor for life," Page told AAP.

"I've always loved the sport and I will continue to sail. This summer coming up I will be competing in the SB20 world championships and I'm going to be back steering an 18-foot skiff this season."

Sailing led the way for Australia in London with three gold medals and Page said he envisaged the sport going from strength to strength.

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