Connor Bainbridge ended last season with two major disappointments but the kitesurfing star insists he would not have it any other way in his bid for Olympic glory.

The 30-year-old looked like a strong contender for the podium in Formula Kite at Paris 2024 when he finished in second at the Test Event in Marseille last summer.

But a poor showing at the World Championships, followed by fifth place at the Europeans shortly afterwards, means that Bainbridge has not yet qualified a spot for Team GB at the Games.

His last chance will be at the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères in April, but for all the disappointment of the second half of 2023, Bainbridge believes it will serve him in the long run.

He explained: “I think having such a strong start to the season (in 2023), not stepping off the podium for such a long time, then having those huge setbacks, it was very difficult.

“But I was able to rationalise it. I was very fatigued, I was ill going into the World Championships and by the European Championships, was holding on for dear life. 

"I wasn’t in the physical condition to perform. But the team around me and that I have on the physical side, were great at picking me back up.

“Within a week of the Europeans, I was back training to get ready for this season. Looking back now, I don’t think I’d have changed anything about that, because I don’t think it would have given me the trajectory I would have taken over the winter to be where I am now.”



Bainbridge kicked off his 2024 campaign at the recent European Championships in Mar Menor, narrowly missing out on the final.

Attention now turns to Hyères, with Bainbridge feeling like his body is in prime condition to secure the place for GB and start planning for the Olympics.

He added: “It’s the beginning of quite a long season so it’s a case of recuperating before the next one. The next major event is the Hyères Regatta.

“There’s a bit of apprehension going into Hyères, making sure I qualify the nation for the Olympics. 

"Nothing is easy in this game but the aim is to tick the boxes. But the hype and being in such an exciting new sport gives a huge amount of excitement going into Olympic year.

“The end of last season was a very tricky drop-off for me. After the Europeans, we did a big reset with new coaching input and a different philosophy over the winter in how we were going to train. 

"That is how we’ve pushed forwards and I’ve worked really hard on my fitness over the winter, it’s been a big priority to make sure I can get through a whole season of racing. Event one, I’m still feeling fresh coming out of the back of it. 

"I’m in the best form I’ve been going into a season so far.”

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