London 2012 Olympics: Paul Goodison talks tech

Olympic GB sailor on training tech, apps, Twitter and more

With one year to go until the London 2012 Olympics kicks off, laser sailing gold medallist Paul Goodison will be hoping to win gold on home soil (well, water). Breaking from his already hectic schedule Paul sat down with T3 to talk training tech, his favourite gadgets and looking ahead to London 2012

The biggest thing for me is, I was out in Athens and both my parents were out there when I finished fourth in 2004, and I can just remember the heartache my parents felt. Luckily my mum made it out to China to see the medal ceremony and see me race, but unfortunately my dad didn’t because he’s got a bad back and he couldn’t cope with it all. So almost one of the biggest motivations for 2012, is that I want to share it with my family and for them to be there, having the opportunity to do that in Weymouth is just amazing as well.

Last time it was almost felt hard going to China for three weeks, coming home for ten days. It’s very difficult, and I feel it should be a lot easier this time. Doing it in your home country, and actually being able to look out my bedroom window and seeing where I am going to be racing hopefully in 2012. Life is a lot easier but it’s quite motivational just being there and I'm getting quite excited about it now.

The biggest tech and gadgets that I am quite into are my computers and cameras. But I think the big thing I use on a regular basis is my iPhone. I have different apps that I use. My physiologist and strength and conditioning coach sent me the Fitness Builder app. I’m still getting to grips with it but I am pretty sure it’s a little bit of big brother to work out a bit more on what I am up to.

They email me through the workouts and I literally open it up and slide between exercises. It even has a rest timer, so he sets this very specific for what you are doing. I feel a little bit of a geek in the gym when you have your phone out, but I think it’s a good way of them keeping track of me and making sure you are doing the right stuff. After that I monitor heart rate and email that to the physiologist every three or four weeks, and that’s done through Polar.

"Being able to look out my bedroom window and seeing where I am going to be racing"

My new latest toy which I love is my Garmin GPS which I use on my bike. It’s basically just a GPS device that tracks where you have ridden and you can try and get directions off it but I need to look at the instructions a bit more. I think using tech makes doing some of the monotonous stuff much more interesting. It’s easier to go and ride on your bike for four hours. If you can come home and download how high you were and how fast you went and put it on a map, share that and compare it with the other guys who are out training and swap routes, it makes things a lot more interesting, and a lot easier.

Most of the actual data analysis stuff is through the physiology and the weights because you can be very precise and put an actual figure on these things. When we are on the water, it’s very difficult to put load sails everywhere because you are not allowed to race with those kind of things. So the main thing while we are training is actually through video analysis and through stills. So a good camera with a high frames per second is a good use. This is very much using this technology to look from an outsider at what’s happening. We use GPS devices and tracking on the boat to try and compare things, but it’s very difficult unless you got the video to go with it. Syncing these things up can be quite a headache.

It’s crazy, the iPhone has just taken over. I think three or four years ago before it came out life used to be easier without it, but now it’s almost like you can’t live without it, especially when you are away like the sailing club, it’s so easy to pull your phone and go on the internet and send and receive and to stay in touch, like the fitness apps and the maps it’s just incredible how things have changed.

For about twelve to eighteenth months people have been banging on at me to get on Twitter. Well, I have my own personal website which I perhaps don’t update as frequently as I like to, but a lot of people are now on Twitter or have Facebook fan pages. I almost felt like they were a bit intrusive and wasn’t really sure, but then when I was in Miami, the house that I was staying in, everybody else was doing it and I was actually looking and it was actually very interesting to find out what the other guys are up to and it was quite funny.

I follow Bradley Wiggins and some of the other cyclists, that’s one of my big hobbies. I thought, there’s no harm in doing it and if people are interested then they can look at, if they are not, they are not. I got quite into it recently while I was out in Palma, I saw Alberto Contodor out cycling and some other things and there are some other interesting things to tweet about and quite a lot of people said that was wicked that you saw him. So I am little bit undecided, but I am trying it and it seems to be quite good at the moment. I don’t like at how mum can keep in touch with what I have been doing! So I have to be a little bit picky about things that I put down sometimes!

Some of the older sailors who are a bit more established in the team have probably got a bit more disposable income to spend on tech, so they spend quite a lot of money on their tech. But it’s all the youngsters who know how to work it, they are the ones telling us which apps we should be using and what we should be doing. Nick Dempsey, the windsurfer is probably the geekiest, because they (windsurfers) are only on the water for short periods of time it means they have a lot more time on their hands to play around with their tech, while some of us spend a little more time on training.

I got my eye on a new sound system. My girlfriend is well against having a TV in the bedroom but we have one in the lounge. She hasn’t quite let me get the full surround sound, all the bells and whistles. Not that I’m there, I’ve only been in the UK for three days this year, but it would be nice when I actually got home to sit in front of the TV and watch the football. So maybe a 3D TV for the football as well.

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