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Olympic stars announce retirement

Written by 14th December 2021 Uncategorised

British Sailing Team boss Mark Robinson has heaped praise on a host of sailing stars after they announced their retirement from Olympic campaigning.

Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Hannah Mills, Giles Scott and Stuart Bithell are among those calling time on their Olympic careers.

London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience, three-time Olympian Ali Young, two-timers Charlotte Dobson and Chris Grube and Rio 2016 Team GB athlete Ben Saxton have taken the decision to move on.

It follows a stellar performance from Team GB’s sailors at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, at which the team secured the top spot on the sailing medal table for the fifth time in six Games with three golds, a silver and a bronze.

Tokyo 2020 champions Giles Scott, Stuart Bithell and Hannah Mills are among those retiring. © Sailing Energy

“All good things must come to an end, and as such these incredible athletes have taken the decision to step back from Olympic campaigning,” said Robinson, the RYA’s Olympic Performance Manager.

“These individuals have made such a huge impact on our sport, their achievements speak for themselves, and they’ve inspired countless youngsters to follow in their footsteps. I feel very proud to have led a team full of such great athletes, and those retiring will be sorely missed.

“However as a team we are well-prepared. Lots of our Tokyo team are going again, plus there are a whole host of talented sailors who’ve been waiting patiently in the wings to get their time to shine.

“With Paris 2024 less than three years away the British Sailing Team is full-steam ahead, with the number one goal of defending our title of the world’s most successful Olympic sailing team.”

Onwards to Paris

Despite the loss of so many big names, the British Sailing Team remains in great shape with Paris 2024 less than three years away.

Gold medal winners Dylan Fletcher (49er) and Eilidh McIntyre (women’s 470) will both continue campaigning for the next Olympics with new crews, yet to be decided.

Nacra 17 runners up John Gimson and Anna Burnet are also continuing their bid for gold alongside Emma Wilson, bronze medallist in the women’s RS:X, windsurfer Tom Squires and 49erFX crew Saskia Tidey.

A whole host of new faces will also be looking to make their mark in a bid to win selection for Team GB.

Meanwhile Nick Dempsey, Britain’s greatest ever Olympic windsurfer with two silvers and a bronze to his name, is back in the British Sailing Team as coach to the men’s iQFOiL, the new foiling windsurfer class that will debut in Paris.

Dempsey retired from competition after scooping silver at Rio 2016, and went on to coach Japan’s Makoto Tomizawa for the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

Nick Dempsey

Nick Dempsey has rejoined the British Sailing Team as the men’s iQFOiL coach. © Richard Aspland

“I’m hugely excited to be back with the British Sailing Team,” said Dempsey. “This is my dream job, and it’s a real honour to lead this men’s iQFOiL squad. I truly believe we have all the right ingredients to be the world’s best team.

“The individual members are young, talented and busting to learn. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the run-up to Paris 2024 and beyond.”

Follow the British Sailing Team’s progress towards Paris 2024 at britishsailingteam.com and via the team’s social media channels.