Great Britain’s sailing team win dramatic double gold and silver at Olympics

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:40 am
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (left) claimed the narrowest of victories in the 49er before Giles Scott (right) successfully defended his Finn title (Getty Images)
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (left) claimed the narrowest of victories in the 49er before Giles Scott (right) successfully defended his Finn title (Getty Images)

Great Britain has won two gold medals and a silver in sailing today.

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell claimed the narrowest of victories in the 49er before Giles Scott successfully defended his Finn title.

John Gimson and Anna Burnet then followed up that success with a silver medal in the mixed Nacra 17 class at the Tokyo Olympics.

How sailing events unfolded

Scott’s victory means Britain have claimed six successive titles in the Finn dating back to Iain Percy’s success in Sydney 21 years ago. Ben Ainslie then won three consecutive titles before Scott clinched his first gold in Rio.

He had a nine-point lead going into the final medal race but had to play catch-up after a poor start and crossed the line in fourth, which was enough to keep him ahead of Hungary’s Zsombor Berecz in silver.

Fletcher and Bithell went into the final medal race, where double points are awarded, in second, four points behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, but the narrowest of victories for them and third for New Zealand saw the British pair claim the title.

Their biggest obstacle turned out to be Germany but, having taken the final turn in second, the British pair just edged over the finish line in front.

A brilliant day for Great Britain’s sailing team was then capped off by Olympic debutants Gimson and Burnet. 

They were guaranteed a medal going into the final race and finished safely in fifth to stay in second place behind Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti.

‘I knew it was super touch and go’

Dylan Fletcher said: “I think it’s been super close all week in racing and today showed off what it’s been like. It was an intense race but it’s mind-blowing to be sat here now being Olympic champions.”

On the race to the line with the German boat, the 33-year-old added: “I thought we had it to be honest but I knew it was super touch and go.

“The other guys had right of way over us so we had to be careful to not get a penalty and time everything just right but Stu did an incredible job of making the boat go fast and we just nicked it at the end.”

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com