A look at the British sailing team for Rio 2016
After the excitement of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, its time to take a closer look at the 15 athletes who competed for Team GB. Since becoming a sport in the 1896 Games, British sailors have won 55 medals to date – including 26 gold medals – and have secured themselves the top spot on the overall Olympic sailing medal table.
Giles Scott, 28 – Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy
Having narrowly missed out on competing in the London 2012 Games to the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, Giles has won various competitions since to ensure he is in fighting form. Born in Huntingdon, Scott was an ISAF Youth World Champion in the Laser class in 2005, before trying out the heavyweight Finn in 2006. Taking like a duck to water, he was Finn Junior World Champion in 2008, and went on to secure three Finn World Championship medals (two being gold). More recently, Scott has secured victories at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championship and twice at Rio Test Events.
Nick Thompson, 29 – Men’s One Person Dinghy
Showing potential from a young age, Thompson placed gold at the 2004 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Gdynia, Poland, at the age of 18. Since then, he has received a bronze medal at the 2009 and 2014 World Championships, and silver in 2010 and 2011. More recently, he won gold at this summer’s Laser World Championships. Despite just missing out on the London 2012 Olympics to 2008 gold medallist Paul Goodison, Thompson is now well equipped to take on Rio.
Alison Young, 28 – Laser Radial
Young began sailing from a young age, and achieved third at the 2005 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Korea. She has a European Championship bronze medal, along with numerous podium finishes at World Cup level. Young participated in the 2012 Olympics, and came in fifth in the Laser Radial class. Since then, she has achieved a silver medal at the Rio Test Event in 2014, and came in ninth place at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
Saskia Clark, 36 & Hannah Mills, 27 – 470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy)
Having competed in the London 2012 Olympics, bringing home a silver medal, the pair have continued to triumph. They won silver medals at the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test Events, bronze at the 2014 World Championships and 2016 World Cup. Saskia is a two-time Olympian, having also competed in 2008 and finishing sixth in the women’s 470 class.
Bryony Shaw, 32 – RS:X Women (Women’s Windsurfer)
Having started windsurfing aged 9, Shaw has regularly prevailed at major events, medalling at European and World Championships, as well as securing bronze at Beijing 2008. This was Team GB’s first women’s windsurfing medal, and she went on to secure seventh place at the London 2012 Olympics after a period of illness. Most recently, Shaw won the Miami and Abu Dhabi World Cup in 2015, along with achieving gold at the RS:X European Championships in Sicily.
Nick Dempsey, 35 – RSX Men
Dempsey is a four time Olympian, securing Team GB’s first Olympic windsurfing medal in 2004, and silver in the London 2012 Games. Aside from this, Dempsey is a two-time RS:X World Champion from 2013 and 2009.
Charlotte Dobson, 29 & Sophie Ainsworth, 26 – 49erFX
The pair finished fifth at the 2015 49er World Championships. Aside from this, the pair placed fifth and seventh in the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test events. Dobson alone is a two-time Youth European Champion and has won silver as a senior in 2010. Yet, she failed to qualify for Beijing 2008 and London 2012 as a solo sailor, so joined forces with Ainsworth for this years games. Ainsworth was the 2007 Youth and Ladies World Champion and a 470 European Champion in 2012.
Ben Saxton, 25 & Nicola Groves, 26 – Nacra 17
The pair are 2015 European Champions in the Nacra 17 class. Saxton had collected another Nacra 17 World Championship silver medal alongside Hannah Diamond in 2013, and was a 470 European silver medallist with Richard Mason in 2012. Groves triumphed in the Sail for Gold Regatta in 2013, and competed internationally in the Topper and 29er at youth level.
Luke Patience, 29 & Chris Grube, 31 – Men’s 470
The pair have only been sailing together since late 2015, following Elliot Willis (Patience’s previous partner) being diagnosed with bowel cancer. Patience won a silver medal at the London 2012 Games in the 470 class, whilst Chris Grube lost out on selection in the 2012 Olympics to Patience and his partner.
Dylan Fletcher, 28 & Alain Sign, 30 – 49er
Fletcher began sailing young, and had numerous national titles under his belt before moving to the 29er Youth class at 15. He was then selected for the RYA National Youth Squad, and was the first youth at the 29er World Championships in 2006. Sign began sailing Toppers, winning many national events, before embarking on the 29er class and winning the World Championships, Nationals and Europeans in 2004. The pair have achieved two silver medals at the European Championships, alongside their first 49er World Championship medal at the 2016 Worlds in Clearwater.