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Top US Woman sailor announces retirement from Olympic Competition

by Richard Gladwell on 11 Jan 2014
Anna Tunnicliffe leaps for her coach just after winning the Gold Medal in Qingdao © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
Double Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (31) has announced that she will retire from Olympic sailing after 12 years of competion.

One of USA's most accomplished and respected sailors, Tunnicliffe was born in Doncaster (UK) before moving to Ohio, USA with her parents when she was 12 years old.

Initially she raced Optimists before moving in the Laser Radial in 1999, and enjoyed a highly successful collegiate sailing career, before being selected for the 2008 Olympics in Quingdao whwre she won a Gold Medal.

She made the transition to the new Women Match Racing event and again had an outstanding career, including winning that event at the ISAF World Sailing Champions in Perth in 2011, in what should have been a launch pad for a successful Olympic regatta nine months later in 2012 at Weymouth, England. Although they finished fourth in the Round Robin phase, Tunnicliffe and her crew of Deborah Capozzi, amd Molly Vandomoer did not progress beyond the Quarter Finals after being beaten by the Bronze Medalists (Finland) who the USA had beaten in the Round Robin phase.

Tunnicliffe along with Elliott 6M crew Molly Vandomoer made the transition to a third Olympic class, the new womens skiff the 49erFX, however after placing 14th in the Europeans and 11th at the Worlds - their goal was a top ten place - and today's announcement comes ahead of the next round in the ISAF Sailing World Cup to be held in Miami starting on January 25.

Anna Tunnicliffe was twice awarded the supreme honour in Sailing - the ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year in 2009, for her outstanding results in campaigning in both the Laser Radial Womens Match racing circuit.

She was again honoured with the same award for 2011 for winning the Womens World Match racing event at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, and also the 2011 Snipe Womens World Championship. She came away from only one regatta in 2011, without having stood on the podium.

Anna Tunnicliffe was just the third woman to have twice won the ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year. She also won the US Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, and was nominated for the prestigious award for six consecutive years.

Tunnicliffe has not commented about the next step in her illustrious sailing career, but backgrounded the difficult decision in a news release:

I've always been a believer in the 4 D's to accomplish a goal. Dream, Desire, Dedication, and Discipline. The Desire, Dedication, and the Discipline are what support the Dream and make it come true. Without one or more of these foundations, you can't accomplish the end goal, the Dream.

It is with a sad heart and tears in my eyes, that today I am announcing that I am retiring from Olympic sailing.

I have had a great run over the last 12 years coming away with one Olympic Gold Medal, two ISAF World Sailor of the Year awards, two World Championships, Multiple Podium World Championship finishes, and a lot of World Cup titles.

I have had the best teammates and sponsors and supporters anyone could ask for. I owe a big 'thank you' to US Sailing, US Sailing Team Sperry Top Sider, Carmeuse, Kaenon, Harken, Mclube, and Zhik for being there with me all the way. Also thank you to all the other Sponsors who helped make each of my campaigns a huge success.

It is a very challenging decision, one with which I have been fighting for a while, but I finally decided that it would not be fair to Molly for me to continue without the fire that burns inside. I know the Dedication and the Discipline that is required. I know how the Desire, the fire inside, should feel. But the fire is weak, and despite my efforts to try to re-ignite it, it's not there, telling me it's time to move on.

I love sailing and will never quit the sport. The Olympic Scene takes an incredible amount of energy and time and for the last 12 years I have dedicated every minute of my life to it. But now it's time to move on to other sailing.

Thank you everyone, for your support over the years, for being there and cheering on me and Molly and Debbie. Thank you.

Sail Anna Tunnicliffe website

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