Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Aussie Olympic sailors cheered home

by Di Pearson on 2 Sep 2004
Sarah Blanck, the only Victorian and fourth at her first Olympics - she should be proud © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com
Most of the Australian Olympic team returned home yesterday to much fanfare from the thousands of family, friends and supporters who gathered at the Qantas base yesterday to cheer their heroes home.

John Howard and Mark Latham attended a great pre-election opportunity, arriving early to mix with the crowd for some handshaking and photos.

Ironically and much to my amusement, Australia’s Miss Universe was there too, but the crowd seemed more intent on meeting our Prime Minister and the Opposition leader.

Channel 7’s Sunrise show also operated out of the Qantas hangar, co-host David Koch signalling the second of two jumbo jets into the hangar and we hoped he knew what he was doing.

Those of the Australian sailing team who returned were disappointed with their results. ‘No medals at all,’ and individual disappointments as well.

Even Sarah Blanck, the Victorian newcomer to the Games in the Europe class who was our best finisher in fourth place, could not believe she had missed bronze by just one point.

However, she did concede, ‘now it’s over and I have done it once, I might give it another go. You just can’t explain how strange it is going to your first Olympics. I didn’t think it would affect me the way it did, but there I was up there leading the class and all of a sudden I realised where I was and what I was doing.’

Most are now taking some time out whilst deciding where each individual’s future lies.

Colin Beashel (Star) who carried the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony says, ‘I am not planning to campaign again, but you never know, it could happen.

Chris Nicholson (49er) will leave town shortly to join his Spanish Volvo Ocean Race team, while Nicky Bethwaite (Yngling), Belinda Stowell (470 crew) and Sarah Blanck have discussed doing some match racing. Stowell may even go down the coaching route, as her skipper, Jenny Armstrong is retiring, as is John Forbes, the Tornado crew for Darren Bundock and Lars Kleppich, the third time Olympian from the Mistral class.

Bethwaite, the ‘elder’ of the team and who, with her current crew member, Karyn Gojnich were the first women to ever represent Australia at Olympics, tried to hide her disappointment, realising, amongst other problems, their run up to the Olympics was a short one compared to others in the first-time Yngling class, but like any Olympian, sees where they could have done better. Stowell was understandably upset. She and Jenny’s lead up to the Games was a good one.

Having won Gold in Sydney and still holding a top world ranking, they both had a lot to live up to and when it did not happen, it was devastating for both.

Michael Blackburn too, was very disappointed with his third effort. A fourth in 1996, missing Bronze by two points, then the Bronze in Sydney and great results during the past year, he expected to medal. 'I should have done better,' he said. It is what most said.

Anthony ‘Nocka’ Nossiter who stunned the Finn world by beating the great Ben Ainslie to win a race and finished sixth overall, his best result ever at this level, appeared the most relaxed of the lot. Nocka, who also represented at Sydney 2000, is a pragmatist and I admire the easy going nature that allows him to move on quickly and not dwell on what might have been.

To go to the Olympics is a prestigious affair, a once in a lifetime opportunity for the elite of each sport, with onlookers admiring from afar.

Returning home without a medal and your hopes dashed, watching others with that magic medal around their necks - Olympic reality bites – and how can any Olympian make us mere mortals understand just how it all feels. They can’t.

Anyway, I talked to a lot of the welcome home crowd before those planes landed and everyone there was proud to know anyone who was on those two Olympic planes, whether they had won a medal or not.

We were all just so pround - excited to see our friends and family home and know they had represented their country to the best of each one’s ability and that they had been where most of us will never go – the Olympic Games.
Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring AC72

Related Articles

ORC World Championship – Final race images by Max Ranchi
Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from final race Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from final race of 2016 ORC World Championships Copenhagen
Posted on 23 Jul
One day left to decide medal winners at ORC World Championship 2016
The high pressure system that has brought warm sunny conditions to Denmark this week did the same again today The high pressure system that has brought warm sunny conditions to Denmark this week did the same again today, but this time so effectively that it was doubtful any wind would be sufficiently strong and stable enough to race.
Posted on 22 Jul
ORC World Championship 2016 – Day four action shots by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day four Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day four
Posted on 21 Jul
ORC World Championship 2016 – Day three action shots by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three
Posted on 20 Jul
One race and three new leaders today at ORC World Championship 2016
High pressure brought sunny weather, but also some long delays awaiting fitful seabreeze to fill enough to hold one race Besides producing results that show new teams for the top of the leaderboard, this was the fourth and final inshore race to the Qualifying Series in Classes A and B to determine the cut for the Gold Fleet - one more offshore race will determine who will be in the top half of each class and be eligible to race for these two World Champion crowns.
Posted on 20 Jul
Practice makes perfect?
There are a lot of us who try to get out on the water whenever we can. There are a lot of us who try to get out on the water whenever we can - be it a club race, a weekend open or a championship. The general feeling is that the more we sail, the better we get, but is that actually the case?
Posted on 27 May
Yacht Racing Forum announces partnership with sailing publications
The annual conference for the business of yacht racing announced that 15th media partnership agreements have been signed The leading annual conference for the business of yacht racing is pleased to announce that fifteen media partnership agreements have been signed with leading international sailing publications spanning nine countries and four continents.
Posted on 25 May
A New Year and three new ORC Championship events
The 2016 New Year brings new opportunities to race in three major ORC championship events being held later this year. The 2016 New Year brings new opportunities to race in three major ORC championship events being held later this year in Italy, Greece and Denmark.
Posted on 5 Jan
The Tour de France à la voile 2016 – Revitalised + Video
Tour de France à la Voile 2016 was presented today. The event is looking strong ahead of the second edition The Tour de France à la Voile 2016 was presented today at Paris Boat Show. The event is looking strong ahead of the second edition to be sailed on Diam 24 boats. Entries have been open for only a month and 31 teams have already announced their participation. Several more teams are keen to join while looking to complete their budget.
Posted on 6 Dec 2015
Pre-notice of race posted for 2016 ORC World Championship
The KDY, Egaa Yacht Club (ES) and ORC are pleased to announce the posting of pre-Notice of Race for the 2016 ORC Worlds The Royal Danish YC (KDY), the Egaa Yacht Club (ES) and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) are pleased to announce the posting of the pre-Notice of Race for the 2016 ORC World Championship, to be held over 15-23 July 2016 in Tuborg Harbor, Copenhagen.
Posted on 6 Oct 2015