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Home » Dinghy » Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page reflect on London 2012 gold

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page reflect on London 2012 gold

  • Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page after winning 470 gold - Photo onEdition (Photo by onEdition)

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/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Mathew-Belcher-and-Malcolm-Page-after-winning-470-gold-Photo-onEdition-240x140.jpg" alt="Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page reflect on London 2012 gold" title="Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page reflect on London 2012 gold"/>

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page travelled two very different paths to get to London 2012 and win gold in the 470 men’s class.

Page was competing at his third Olympic Games and campaigning to be the first Australian sailor to win two gold medals. While for Belcher London 2012 was his first Games and he was sailing alongside the man who had edged him out for qualification for the last two Olympics.

Belcher and Page teamed up at the end of 2008 and, along with coach Victor Kovalenko, did not leave a stone unturned on their way to London, winning three consecutive World Championship titles and holding down the world number one position from the middle of 2010.

“Ever since teaming up Malcolm and I campaigned hard from day one,” said Belcher. “We did almost every 470 event over that period and I was so surprised that after winning Olympic gold that my first reaction was relief and not excitement. Achieving what we did during our partnership and having not won would have been hard for us. Every minute of the day we either trained or raced to prepare for the Olympics.”

Belcher and Page’s gold in London came at the end of a very tense week where nothing separated them from their competition, with the pair going head-to-head with Great Britain for gold in the medal race.

The Australians came out on top in a close final race, with Page echoing Belcher’s comments that relief was his first feeling after crossing the finish line.

“Relief was the first, and by far strongest, feeling that I had,” said Page. “I’m not sure if it’s because we were on an unbeaten record that lasted almost a year, or if it was because I was defending the gold from Beijing which hadn’t been done in 470 history. London was 15 years in the making and we carried the ‘favourites’ title, or burden, throughout. So yes relief is still the strongest feeling.

“It was incredible to achieve what I’d set out to do, to be the first Australian sailor to win two Olympic gold medals,” he said. “That was the main focus for the last four years considering I’d already achieved what I’d always wanted four years earlier in Beijing.”

Belcher said that standing on the podium and receiving his gold medal was a moment that stood out from London 2012.

“The feeling of standing on the podium was incredible,” said Belcher. “The most memorable feeling for me was standing there and finally realising that we’d done it, and thinking back about what we had achieved together. I remember thinking while we were up there what a great time Malcolm and I had, I’ll never forget what we achieved together and what we went through to get it.”

Once the pair received their gold medals the celebrations continued, with Page chosen by Chef de Mission Nick Green to carry the Australian flag into the Closing Ceremony.

“That was an incredibly proud moment for me,” said Page. “Winning events and titles are meticulously planned out and trained for over years and decades. But receiving the honour of leading the whole Australian Olympic Team is something you can’t plan for. It was a proud moment for me and our sailing team.”

The dust had barely settled on their London campaign and Mathew Belcher was back in the boat preparing for Rio 2016, this time with former training partner Will Ryan, with the pair currently contesting the 2013 470 World Championship in France.

“The experience of sailing with Malcolm was amazing, it was a privilege to sail with him and share what we did together,” said Belcher. “Rio is a new challenge with different dynamics and the journey will be different but I’m really enjoying the challenge.”

While Page has since retired from Olympic class sailing he’s still heavily involved in the sport and travelled extensively around the country after the Games promoting sailing.

“I was very proud to have the opportunity to promote my sport around Australia after the Games,” said Page. “I knew London was my last Olympics as an athlete and I felt some responsibility to my sport and country. It was also amazing to feel and see the new groundswell of support for sailing. I think I met a few future Australian Olympic sailing medallists along the way as well.”

By Craig Heydon


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