Thursday 22 February 2018

London heartache simply spurred Murphy's determination to succeed

Annalise Murphy hugs sailing partner Sarah Winther. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Annalise Murphy hugs sailing partner Sarah Winther. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Alan O'Keeffe

Annalise Murphy has been single-minded in her dedicated pursuit of sailing success since she was just a little girl.

The Olympic disappointment in London 2012 - when she narrowly missed out on a medal when coming fourth - only served to fuel her ambition. Signs of her dedication include the 128 days she has spent on the waters off the coast of Brazil in the past four years - getting a thorough feel for the winds, tides and currents of Rio.

Annalise (26) has been utterly dedicated in her training and she said she learned to become more ruthless in races, having learned the hard way that winners cannot afford to allow their opponents to gain an upper hand when racing on the waves.

A resident of Rathfarnham in Dublin, the rangy 6'1'' sailor said her earliest memories are of boating trips on Blessington Lake. Her first boat was an Optimist dinghy she got when she was 10 years old.

It was no surprise she took to the sea at an early age, as she is the daughter of Cathy McAleavey, who was on Ireland's first female Olympic sailing team at Seoul in South Korea in 1988.

For good measure, her father, Con, was a commodore at the National Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire, and is working as a sailing race official in Rio - but is not involved in any of Annalise's races. Indeed, the whole family - including siblings Claudine and Finn - have been popular members of the yacht club for years.

Read more: 'I was just going to attack it and not be afraid of losing' - Annalise Murphy

Such is Annalise's dedication to sailing, she quit her science studies at University College Dublin to train full-time on the waters of the world. In 2010, she became the first woman to win the Irish National Sailing Championships, and the following year she came sixth in the World Championships in Australia.

But she shot to national prominence when she was tipped for a gold medal finish at the London Olympics after a tremendous display of sailing over a number of days. However, in the final medal race her winning ways faltered and she ended up in a frustrating fourth-place position.

Since then, Annalise has been relentless in her training and competition.

The year after her Olympic fourth she won the European Championships, which were held in Irish waters.

She has raced all over the world and derived a little extra satisfaction in some of those races by beating the gold and silver medallists who finished ahead of her in the 2012 Olympics.

Back on dry land, she has indulged in a few simple pleasures - with her Twitter profile mentioning she is also "a shopaholic and expert cake-baker".

Irish Independent

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