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Yachting Great passes away

by Brad Anderson on 2 Aug 2010
Tom and John Anderson win Gold for Australia SW
Sadly, on the 28 July 2010 Australian Olympic Gold Medalist, Thomas Anderson passed away at the age of 71. Both Tom and his twin brother John won Olympic Gold at the 1972 Munich Games.

Australian Olympic history was made in 1972 at Kiel, when two gold medals in yachting were won on the same day. John Cuneo, Thomas Anderson and John Shaw won the dragon class while David Forbes and John Anderson won the star class. All but David Forbes were Queenslanders.

In 1972, for the first time, the Australian Yachting Federation sent the yachting team overseas ahead of the rest of the Olympic team. To help get a feel for the Baltic Sea where conditions were considerably different from those in Australian waters, the Australians competed in the Dragon Gold Cup races in Denmark three weeks before the Games. Many of the competitors were also heading for the Olympics, and in their company 'Wyuna' was not particularly impressive. With a bit of luck however, they did manage to win one race at this regatta. Confidence was restored in a series of races in Travamundi, near the border of East and West Germany where they performed much better.

Tom Anderson became part of Australia's unique Olympic double at the 1972 Olympic Games - he and his identical twin, John won gold medals in the same day in Kiel. However, neither on knows who was first, as they were both out on course at the same time.

Son of a Brisbane bootmaker, Tom inherited his love of sailing from his father, who crewed in four Australian 18-foot championship victories. Tom attended St Francis Primary School in West End, and then St Laurence's Christian Brothers College, leaving school at 16 at Junior level. He later took up an apprenticeship and became a master plumber and builder.

Business and family came first after the 1972 games. Tom started his own plumbing business and soon became father to twins - Elise and Brad, who would also grow up to represent Australia in yachting. However his passion for sailing continued throughout his life.

For many years Tom has suffered from a physical and mental disease which on Wednesday 28 July 2010 finally took his life. He will be sadly missed not only by his family and close friends, but also the Australian Yachting Federation. He truly was one of the greats in Australia's sporting history.

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