Wednesday 21 March 2018

Annalise Murphy casts London 2012 heartbreak aside to claim Olympic silver

Ireland's Annalise Murphy won silver in the Laser Radial
Ireland's Annalise Murphy won silver in the Laser Radial

Annalise Murphy has gone from tears to triumph after making up for the heartbreak of London 2012 by winning Laser Radial silver in Brazil - Ireland's first sailing medal for 36 years.

Guanabara Bay bore witness to a second Irish medal of Rio 2016 on Tuesday, when the 26-year-old put the disappointment of four years ago behind her in some style.

Murphy left the waters of Weymouth and Portland in tears as her first Olympics ended with a podium finish being snatched away in the medal race.

Finishing fourth, though, saw her change tack in Rio and she claimed silver in front of Sugarloaf Mountain.

"It's incredible," Murphy said, having become just the fourth Irish woman to ever win an Olympic medal. "I am just a bit shell-shocked.

"It's incredible to come here today and get a silver medal after four years ago when I was fourth. I was completely heartbroken.

"It is a completely different feeling and I am just delighted.

"I just went out today knowing that I couldn't treat it any different from any other race I've done this week.

"I was just going to attack it and not be afraid of losing because that's what happened four years ago.

"I was afraid of losing rather than trying to win so I went and attacked the race. I sailed really well.

"It was pretty light winds so not conditions that suit me, but I kind of proved I was able to do it.

"I think I was in gold medal position for a while but I lost out on it on the last downwind but I am just delighted."

Murphy's silver was Ireland's first Olympic sailing medal since Moscow 1980, when David Wilkins and James Wilkinson took silver in the Flying Dutchman.

There were few signs of nerves when the medal race final got under way after a 24-hour delay brought by Monday's changeable conditions.

Gold became an increasing possibility as the race wore on, only for Holland's Marit Bouwmeester to eventually edge top spot.

Murphy, whose mother Cathy McAleavey competed in the 1988 Games as one half of Ireland's 470 entry, was able to beat Anne-Marie Rindom to silver, with the pair celebrating their medals by jumping in the water together.

"Rory (Fitzpatrick), my coach," Murphy said, when asked who she thinks about at a time like this.

"He's been my coach since I was a youth sailor and this is as much his medal as mine.

"He has stuck by me when I've probably been really difficult and I've had a pretty hard time this year.

"I haven't been sailing very well so we worked really hard over the last couple of months and we knew we could do something really special here. But to actually go and do it is just amazing."

Press Association

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