Adversity has strengthened Young ahead of Tokyo 2020 test

Those damned Olympic Gods, from Apollo to Zeus, Alison Young will be praying to them hard for some luck in 2020.

Because it's fair to say Young's Olympic experiences have not been plain sailing.

She finished just outside the medals at London 2012 but arrived in Rio as world champion, the first British woman sailor to achieve that in a solo Olympic dinghy class.

However, an untimely broken ankle conspired against her hopes, her eighth place finish under the outstretched arms of Christ the Redeemer remaining a nagging source of regret.

Tokyo could go either two ways - pray to Mount Olympus it is third time lucky.

Climbing may be making its Olympic debut in Tokyo but you can forgive Young for not getting carried away with the hype, because it was out scrambling over rocks with friends that she broke her ankle - just eight weeks before Rio.

As injuries go it wasn't quite as bad as when Spanish goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois missed the World Cup after dropping a bottle of aftershave on his foot -  but it was close.

“No one competes at the Olympics without a bit of adversity but I think I had my fair share," said Young, 32, one of the first names confirmed on the team for Tokyo.

"Four weeks out from the Games I couldn't walk, making the start line was an amazing achievement buy by the time it got to the Games I was mentally fried.

“At the Games I could sail the boat as well as anyone out there but when I got injured it became an eight-week project from there to going and competing at the Games.

“But it needed to be a nine-and-a-half-week project – I needed more mental energy to be able to perform to my best.

“I was disappointed and felt I underperformed. The team had done a fantastic job managing the injury and getting me back in shape.

“Each cycle throws up different challenges and you learn from those and use them to push you forward."

Born and raised in landlocked Worcestershire, she was introduced to the sport when her father bought lessons at Trimpley Sailing Club for her ninth birthday.

She admits sailing quickly became an obsession and lists her other hobbies as tight-rope walking and playing Connect4. Given her history of untimely injuries, team officials will be hoping she unwinds with the latter rather than the former.

"The mental side is my biggest weakness, once I get a handle on that I’ll be able to find some strengths," she said.

“Incidents like the one before Rio do affect your lifestyle choices to an extent but you can’t avoid the freak event.

“You can mitigate to reduce the risk but you have to be able to respond to injuries or illness or other challenges that you may face along the campaign.

“Emotional support in those incidents comes from friends and family as well and the team and you have to keep the perspective of what it is that we’re doing.

“My parents brought me up to crack on with what you’re doing even if stuff is not perfect.”

Resilience and redemption – hopefully the cocktail of success for Young in Tokyo.