The gold medalist 'blonde in a boat' sailor, who spent five years as a single mum after splitting with her Olympic hero husband, says she now has time to pursue her real dream....of being a jockey.
Olympic champion Sarah Ayton had sacrificed her sailing career, and the chance to with three consecutive golds at London 2012, to look after her two children and support her Olympian former husband Nick Dempsey, who then went on to date the woman who replaced her as one of the ‘Three Blondes in a Boat’ in Team GB.
But now, Ayton, who won gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has decided to swap sailing for riding despite only taking up the sport in December.
With her two boys, now aged seven and five, at school, the determined 36-year-old is set to compete in front of 25,000 people at the amateur Magnolia Cup at Goodwood.
She began her race training three weeks ago ahead of the race in August.
"The last five years has been head down, looking after the kids," she told the Evening Standard.
"I'm at a situation in time where I've got my children in full-time education and take this on. I've learned from my sailing I love a challenge. This is something completely new. It is absolutely incredible and thrilling."
Ayton also won gold at Athens in 2004 and would have had the chance in London to become the first British woman to win three consecutive Olympic golds if she had not decided to stop her training in favour of “supporting Nick”.
She finished her training a year before the games to help her husband, who was desperate to improve on the bronze he secured in Athens, and to look after the couple’s two young sons.
After he won silver, Mr Dempsey paid tribute to his wife who had “sacrificed a medal” so he could win his.
Describing her new challenge as "pretty yee-ha", she added: "It is my first time ever on a horse. I know nothing. If you know nothing, you can learn the correct way. It is going to be crazy."