Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders

How did you get in to sailing?
GJ: I started sailing when I was 9 in the Optimist. My parents were both sailors when I was growing up, my Mum to an Olympic level [Olympic silver medallist] and I travelled around following my Dad in the America's Cup. After watching my Dad sailing I couldn't wait to start myself and an Olympic medal has always been my dream. JS: My grandfather sailed bigger boats with my father and together with a friend at school I tried the learn to sail program in Tauranga.
Who is your athlete inspiration?
GJ: Lydia Ko is an athlete inspiration of mine; she is so extremely talented in a sport that requires such perfection and precision. To perform so well at such a young age is very impressive. JS: I follow a lot of sports and especially loved watching guys like Rafael Nadal in tennis and Tiger Woods (pre scandal) in golf. I thought those two guys were two of the most mentally tough athletes in sport at the time.
Who is your personal inspiration?
GJ: A personal inspiration of mine is the business woman Sheryl Sandberg; she has succeeded in the business world and wrote a great book about how she made it as a female in the very dominated business world. JS: My parents gave me great opportunities growing up and worked hard so that I could buy new boats and travel to compete and have always been right behind me. I think we are a pretty sporty family and growing up, sport has always been a big part of our life.
How do you think yourself and other New Zealand athletes can be inspirational?
GJ: I think that athletes can be inspirational to others by broadcasting their story and by helping kids in their sport learn such as by coaching or supporting at events. JS: I know for myself it was pretty inspirational in London when I saw Jo and Polly, and Peter and Blair get their medals at the Olympics and this for sure for me made me want to try again to get on the podium for Rio. I think it's really inspiring to see New Zealand athletes in a lot of sports competing and winning on the world stage, and I think athletes in New Zealand are humble and show great sportsmanship which makes the country proud. You only have to look to the All Blacks to see how they can be the best but still be connected with their fans and always show that humbleness.
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