Gosford's golden boy Tom Slingsby told the world he was 'the happiest guy on the planet' just after his great victory on Monday night and at his home club there was also universal happiness as sailors young and old turned out in force to cheer him home.
Tom Slingsby (AUS) competing today, 04.08.12, in the Men’s One Person Dinghy (Laser) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
The modest sailing club on the shores of Brisbane Water at Gosford where Slingsby has become a wonderful role model for young sailors, extended normal trading hours and was decked out in green and gold as clubmates gathered together to watch history in the making.
While parts of the media were moaning about Australia’s silver streak in the medals stake, the faithful were confident that Australia's first individual gold of the London Olympics was about to be brought home in a sport largely overlooked up until the final day.
The 11pm final race start did not deter young sailors from joining in on the festive atmosphere. The anticipation was intoxicating with TV crews filming the excited supporters in the build-up to the medal race and everyone stoked to see the wind was up.
Aussie beach balls flew over the heads of cheering fans and the chanting of 'Tom, Tom, Tom, Oye, Oye, Oye' was at fever pitch as Slingsby held his main rival at bay. The club rocked and rolled with every one of Tom's tacks.
When he crossed the finish line and secured gold the crowd roared. It was what they were expecting from their local hero who had met despair in Beijing. This was the real Tom, showing what he could do in true breeze.
Gosford Sailing Club president Andrew McDougall said the five-times world champion and Olympian champion was a down to earth guy who was a real part of the club.
Asked what it meant to the club, he said `what it means is we'll have a lot of of young sailors who will want to be the next Tom Slingsby and it will really generate growth of sailing in the region.'
Gosford Sailing Club website