It’s perhaps unsurprising that having strived for Olympic selection for nearly two decades, the reality of fulfilling that dream is taking quite some time to sink in for Fynn Sterritt.

The 35-year-old sailor from Kingussie had his place in Team GB for the Paris 2024 Olympics confirmed late last year but despite having had several months to process the news that he’ll be making his Olympic debut this summer, he admits it all still seems somewhat surreal.

“I still don’t think it’s hit home even yet – every so often I get a few feelings of excitement or nerves but I don’t think it’ll really sink in till closer to the Games themselves,” he says.

“Obviously the goal was always to be selected so we felt like that was just another step on the way to where we want to be. But you also have to stop and appreciate how far you’ve come.”

Sterritt’s story is one of unrelenting perseverance.

Having first joined the British Sailing Team in 2012, the 49er sailor narrowly missed out on Olympic selection alongside his sailing partner, Englishman James Peters, for both the 2016 Olympics, and the 2020 Olympics.

Both were devastating blows – indeed, the Scot took a break from the sport after missing out on Tokyo 2020 – but as is common for most elite athletes with the unflinching desire to make it to the top of their sport, Sterritt maintained the belief, with only a few fleeting moments of doubt, that he would, eventually, become an Olympian.

“Sportspeople are often very good at blanking-out the down moments – the lows are par for the course. I’ve certainly had my fair share of dark moments but you just have to go again and have that belief that you are good enough and you will get there,” he says.

“For sure I had moments when I wondered if it would all work out, though.

“Of course, an element of getting to this point is hard work but there’s also a huge element that is luck. I’ve sailed with and against incredible, world-class sailors who have never made it to the Olympics for a variety of reasons. So it’s not as simple as if you work really hard, you’ll get there and so I recognise that I’m very fortunate to be in this position.”

The Herald: Fynn Sterritt will finally fulfil his dream of becoming an Olympian this summerFynn Sterritt will finally fulfil his dream of becoming an Olympian this summer (Image: Getty)

The Opening Ceremony of Paris 2024 is now less than three months away but first on Sterritt’s agenda is the 49er European Championships, which begin today in La Grande Motte in France, and having won two silvers and a bronze at the event in previous editions, he’s well aware that he and Peters have the ability to contend for a spot on the podium come the end of the week.

However, with the pair, who are also former World silver medallists, having struggled to find their very best form in recent months, Sterritt’s primary goal for the coming days is to fine-tune things in a competitive environment to ensure they can hit the ground running come the Olympics.

“The World Championships earlier this year were disappointing for us because we felt we didn’t perform nearly as well as we wanted to,” he says.

“After that, we took a bit of time and realised we needed to go back to basics. “

“This week, everyone will be watching their rivals to see how they look ahead of Paris but for us, we just want to put right some of the things we didn’t do well at the Worlds. And if we can do that, we’ll be happy.

“Having said that, you always want to do well and it never does any harm to have a good result just before the Olympics.”

As a member of a highly-competitive and extremely successful British sailing squad, Sterritt’s targets for Paris are unsurprisingly lofty.

And what makes his feelings about this summer’s Games particularly intense is that he’s almost certain this will be his one and only tilt at Olympic glory.

With a masters degree in aerospace engineering, Sterritt has already laid the foundations for a life after sport but before he truly contemplates retirement, he’s got a significant goal he wants to achieve.

And with GB defending champions in the 49er class – Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher won gold in Tokyo – Sterritt knows exactly the standard required to top the Olympic podium.

“I definitely think about winning gold in Paris - it’s all about gold,” he says. 

“We watched the British guys win in Tokyo and we had pushed them hard so we know the level that’s required.

“I do think Paris is my last chance of an Olympic medal. I’ve been doing this a long time and while I love what I do, you have to sacrifice a lot and there’s other things in life I’d like to experience. “