The British Olympic Association has announced the final four sailors who will take to the water for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The first group of sailors heading to Rio was announced back in September with further names being added in March. The latest announcement completes the 15-strong sailing line-up that will head to Rio 2016.
When the statement was made Stephen Park, Team GB Sailing Team Leader and RYA Olympic Manager, said: “We are delighted and proud to complete our Olympic Games line-up for Rio, 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.”
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 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.
On hearing the news Luke Patience said: “It is 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 am happy and I cannot 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.”
Mark England, Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, thoughts were also with Elliot Willis: “It is great to announce the final four athletes and complete the squad that will sail for Team GB in Rio de Janeiro. It has 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.”
It might only be a few months until the Olympic Games, but it is so important that the selectors get it right and in some classes it has been a very close call as
Stephen Park explains: “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.”
All the team members will be battling hard to bring home a medal, especially with the team’s past Olympic successes to live up to. 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.
TEAM GB SAILORS
The final four sailors selected 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)
5 – 21 August 2016
Sailing is scheduled to be held from 5–21 August at Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay