Thursday, February 21, 2013

Catherine Taylor: "One day I want to do that!"

She is one of the big names of the Portugal O' Meeting 2013 and surprised by his determination, class and... youth. Her name is Catherine Taylor, she is a rising star and is also our guest today.

I must confess I was surprised to see you having such great results since the first day of the Portugal O' Meeting. Did it surprise you, also?

Catherine Taylor (C. T.) - I'm not sure that I'm surprised because I’ve trained really hard this winter. I live in Uppsala, in Sweden, I've been training with Annika [Billstam], we have really strong and fast girls in Uppsala, and these good days of training are starting to show in my results.

You mentioned Annika Billstam. How do you see Annika?

C. T . - I look up to Annika a lot but, really, we are a team, we all look to each other. We train a lot together, maybe five times a week, we know each other very well, we support each other and maybe one person will have a good day one day, maybe somebody else the next day, but we all look after each other and that makes for a really happy training environment.

How did you start in Orienteering?

C. T . - I didn't have the choice (laughs). My mom and dad were orienteers before I was born so... I've been racing since I was 8 years old.

When did it happen, that “click”, when you decided to be a top orienteer?

C. T . - I was about ten years old. At that time we had the World Championships in Scotland [Inverness, 1999] and Yvette Baker was the big star, she won the Short Distance's gold medal and than I said to myself: “One day I want to do that!”

And now we can see you in Portugal, running so well... Is this your first time in the Portugal O' Meeting?

C. T . - No, I was here in 2007, when I was still a junior. Since then I haven't come back, but this year I couldn't miss it. I've been looking forwards to this all winter because I knew that there would be good races, good maps and good weather here.

And what about your four days of the Portugal O' Meeting 2013?

C. T . - In every race I've made mistakes, but in every race there's been a lot of controls that I've taken really well. And when things go really well, you know, it's such a great feeling... I think I’ve got something to take from all the races, something to learn from all the races as well.

In the deciding day, the last day of Portugal O' Meeting, you managed to catch Amélie [Chataing], you were so close of the third place overall, and then...

C. T . - I lost her in the downhill, I guess I wasn't strong enough. Downhill is something that I need to work on, definitely. Maybe if it had been on the flat, like on the beginning, then things could be different. Maybe...

Are you happy with your fourth position overall?

C. T . - I don't think I could be happy with a fourth place but I didn't know what to expect when I came here. So, I think fourth is okay, it could certainly be worse!

What are your next goals?

C. T . - My main goal for the season is the World Championships' Long Distance... I think. I'm not quite sure yet. And also Tiomila and Jukola with OK Linné, they’re the biggest races and a lot of fun.

When are we going to see you on IOF's World Ranking top 10?

C. T . - (Laughs) Soon... I hope!

In 2015 we'll have the World Championships in your country and you’re organising, with some other british orienteers, the “Project 2015”. Can you tell me something about the Project?

C. T . - There are two main aims for the project. The first is that our team gets a really enthusiastic way of working, to be inspired by having a WOC in our country. And also to stay connected with the rest of the orienteering public back home, letting them to know more about us, not the names or the results but how we train and why we do what we do, and help them to understand what kind of life it is when you're trying to be an elite orienteer.

Until now, how is the project running?

C. T . - There's a lot of things we're still working on at the moment, but I think already we feel like a strong team, and we feel that we're developing.

One last question: Are you still thinking in a podium at WOC 2015, making true your dream of being like Yvette Baker?

C. T . - (Laughs) Well... I've been thinking about it, actually. But most of all, I think that will be a great World Championships. I'm really excited about it, everyone in our team is excited, everyone at home is excited... It's going to be great and, of course, I expect a lot from myself.

Joaquim Margarido

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