Team GB Rules the Waves With Double Gold Medal Wins

By PA
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August 3, 2021 Updated: August 3, 2021

Tearful family members watched on as Team GB ruled the waves in Tokyo with sailors scooping double Olympic gold medal glory on Tuesday.

Giles Scott won gold in the men’s Finn class, Britain’s sixth successive title in the event, shortly after fellow sailors Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell narrowly claimed first in the men’s 49er.

There were tears and jubilant scenes at Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club near Rochdale, Greater Manchester, as Bithell’s parents Vivian and Leslie watched the pair take the final turn in second but then edge over the finish line in front.

The pair went into the final medal race, where double points are awarded, in second, four points behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, but victory for Fletcher and Bithell and third for New Zealand saw them claim the title.

Sailing - Men's Finn - Medal Race
Giles Scott of Britain celebrates after competing men’s Finn medal race at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo, on Aug. 3, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Fletcher’s mother Jane spoke of the agonising wait to see her son in action, after the race was postponed 24 hours due to low wind.

She told “Good Morning Britain”: “We were in the shaking position yesterday morning and then we had to stop shaking and then start shaking again this morning. I haven’t stopped! I’ve been blubbing all over the place, it’s amazing.”

Meanwhile, Scott finished fourth in his medal race to end the event on 45 points overall, just three points ahead of second place in a nail-biting finish.

The 34-year-old retained the title he won at Rio 2016, finishing ahead of Hungary’s Zsombor Berecz and Spain’s Joan Cardona Mendez.

Scott, from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, said: “I made it by the skin of my teeth, it was properly to the wire, it was really tight. I tried to stay relaxed but I’ve never been involved in a boat race as close as that.”

Scott’s father John described his pride as he and his wife Ros watched on at the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth, Dorset.

Great Britain’s Anna Burnet and John Gimson
Great Britain’s Anna Burnet and John Gimson compete during the mixed Nacra 17 medal race at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo, on Aug. 3, 2021. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

“I’m afraid I was up at 2:30 a.m., I couldn’t sleep—but fortunately there was plenty on the telly, so I was watching all the sport, getting ready for this ride,” the 69-year-old told the PA news agency.

“I’m proud for him as much I’m proud of him … he’s shown his mettle by coming back into this boat, and after a really rocky first day, showing why he was defending Olympic champion.”

The couple spoke to their son via video call after his victory, when Scott said his son told him, “I’m relieved to see I didn’t give you a heart attack.”

The wins at Japan’s Enoshima Yacht Harbour took Britain’s gold medal haul to 13.

There was also a silver for Olympic debutants John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the mixed Nacra 17 class, who finished in fifth in the medal race to stay in second place behind Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti.

Burnet’s mother Louise Burnet, from Shandon, Gare Loch, in Argyll, and Bute, Scotland, said she was “completely over the moon” after the “awesome result.”

Burnet told PA: “We would never ever have dreamed of this happening. I’m a very proud mum.”

And there was another medal in the pool as Harrogate’s Jack Laugher, 26, bagged the third Olympic medal of his diving career with bronze in the men’s 3 metre springboard final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

By Chay Quinn

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