British sailors confirmed for 49er and 470 Men's events in Rio
The final four sailors who will take to the water for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have today been announced by the British Olympic Association (BOA).
Luke Patience and Chris Grube will compete in the men’s 470, while Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign complete the squad in the 49er after a close British selection battle.
For Fletcher, Sign and Grube, Rio 2016 will be their first Olympic outing, with Grube having teamed up with Patience following Elliot Willis’s cancer diagnosis at the end of 2015. Patience already has an Olympic medal to his name – a 470 silver he picked up with Stuart Bithell at London 2012.
The first group of sailors was announced back in September with further names being added in March and today’s announcement completes the 15-strong sailing line-up that will head to Rio 2016.
Team GB lead the way in sailing at the Olympic Games and sit atop the overall standings with 55 medals accrued since 1986 – including 26 golds.
The four sailors selected today are:
Luke Patience, 29 (Men’s 470)
Chris Grube, 31 (Men’s 470)
Dylan Fletcher, 28 (49er)
Alain Sign, 30 (49er)
Those previously selected are:
Giles Scott (Finn)
Nick Thompson (Laser)
Alison Young (Laser Radial)
Bryony Shaw (Women’s RS:X)
Nick Dempsey (Men’s RS:X)
Hannah Mills (Women’s 470)
Saskia Clark (Women’s 470)
Charlotte Dobson (49erFX)
Sophie Ainsworth (49erFX)
Ben Saxton (Nacra 17)
Nicola Groves (Nacra 17)
Mark England, Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, said: ‘It’s great to announce the final four athletes and complete the squad that will sail for Team GB in Rio de Janeiro.
‘It’s been a challenging time for Luke having been selected back in September and then having to refocus following Elliot’s diagnosis.
‘Chris and Luke can now forge a strong partnership and we wish Elliot all the best and hope to see him on the water again soon.’
Stephen Park, Team GB Sailing Team Leader and RYA Olympic Manager said: ‘We’re delighted and proud to complete our Olympic Games line-up for Rio today, and congratulate Luke and Chris, Dylan and Alain on their selections for Team GB.
‘Finalising the Games team is always an exciting moment and allows us to now really focus on the final run-in and what it takes to win medals in the extremely challenging environment that Rio presents.
‘Dylan and Alain have come through a particularly close selection battle with teammates John Pink and Stuart Bithell and the fast progressing pairing of James Peters and Fynn Sterritt in the 49er class, but will go into their first Games full of passion and enthusiasm, and with the confidence of being World Championship medallists in the Olympic year.
‘Luke and Chris have formed a strong unit in the time they’ve had together and have shown that they can be medal competitive. They are determined to continue the work which Luke and Elliot started out together this cycle and hopefully see that through to a successful conclusion in Rio.’
Dylan Fletcher said: ‘To be honest, I don’t think it has really sunk in yet. We got the call late last night and we were a bit tired after quite a long drive but I just can’t get over how amazing it feels and super excited to be going out there and representing Team GB. It’s a dream come true.
‘We didn’t make the selector’s lives easy, it was super tight, especially with Pinky [John Pink] and Stu [Stuart Bithell] we are really good mates with them. We both pushed each other to the end and we are just really happy that we came out on top.
‘Alain and I have been sailing together for nearly ten years now so it’s amazing. We are best mates, so to be going to the Olympic Games with him is really special. We have worked so hard for this. He is the best crew in the world and when we are on our day we are untouchable so hopefully we can bring that to the Games and enjoy it and have a good week.’
Alain Sign said: ‘It’s just a really awesome experience to be able to represent our country in sailing, just really emotional.
‘We definitely haven’t made it easy for the selectors to pick a boat, so we are really happy to come out on top. Through the whole cycle we have been kind of battling it out [with the other British teams], finishing next to each other.
‘Dylan and I have known each other since I was 16 and come through a long journey, through lots of highs and lows so to come out on top [in Rio] would be an amazing experience and top it all off.’
Luke Patience said: ‘It’s still a special day but mixed feelings I suppose because I am combining two campaigns to try and still achieve the same goal. It was wonderful to do this today with Chris and it was wonderful to do that day with Elliot as well. Mixed emotions, but overall I’m happy and I can’t wait to hopefully do Queen and country proud.
‘I hope I can draw on the London experience, and with Chris being a first time Olympian, between us it will keep things grounded. Four years ago I was probably the most excited man with Stuart in front of the camera, but business will be business, the excitement will be the excitement, they will be two separate things. We will do the damage we can do on the water and hopefully with a smile on our face.’
Chris Grube said: ‘My selection has obviously come out of Elliot’s misfortune but we are going to do our best and hopefully get a medal and do Elliot and ourselves proud.
‘It’s been a very long road, now it’s finally here it is quite surreal. Even though it is something you have been aiming for ten or more years it’s a fantastic opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics, I am very proud to be standing here and able to say that.
‘It’s a short campaign for us but we are looking to bring back a medal at the end of the day and we need to make sure the processes are in place to achieve that. There are a lot of technical things happening in the background, we need to make sure the boat is moving quickly through the water but also we need to make sure our racing is going well, working well as a team and our communication in the boat is understandable to each other.’
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