Olympic gold medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark have taken the female category in the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.
9 November, 2016
Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills are the female winners of the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.
Britain’s Women’s 470 pair were celebrated for their gold at Rio 2016, after missing out at London 2012.
According to the award organisers, Clark and Mills were near flawless in their build up.
Gold at the 2015 Sailing World Cup Final, silver at the 2015 World Championships and two 2016 World Cup golds proved Mills and Clark were a “force to be reckoned with.”
Once at Rio, the British pair kept their focus on the task ahead.
“Only a disaster in the Medal Race could separate them from gold. That was never going to happen. Clark and Mills finished what they had started and wiped clean the disappointment of London,” stated the organisers.
Commented afterward the announcement, Clark said: “It is totally overwhelming to win this award, to see the names of previous winners, the legends of sailing in the room with us. We really weren’t expecting this.”
Mills added: “The whole basis of our campaign was teamwork, our bond. To cap our year with winning this award is absolutely incredible.”
Marking their triumph, Mills and Clark both received engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 37s and a marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents.
The winner in the male category was Santiago Lange from Argentina.
The sailor provided Rio 2016 with the fairy tale storyline of the Olympic Games as he won gold with Cecilia Carranza Saroli in the Nacra 17.
At 54-years-old, the six-time Olympian and two-time bronze medal winner, was the oldest sailor competing.
Just a year before the games he was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a lung removed.
“Making the start line of the competition was an achievement in itself for the resilient Argentinean. Lange showed what is possible when passion is backed by courage and determination,” noted the award organisers.
Speaking after the announcement, Lange said it was a “very emotional moment in a very long sailing career.”
“It is a win for ‘us’ because I could not have done it without Cecilia. I want to thank all the other nominees, they are athletes I really admire. Only the very best win gold medals at the Games, and I have a lot of respect for all the other nominees,” he said.
Lange was also presented with a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 and a marble and silver trophy.
The winners of the 2016 Rolex World Sailors of the Year were announced on 8 November, 2016, at a ceremony held at the 18th century Casa Llotja De Mar, in the presence of some 500 guests:
At the beginning of the evening, HM King Constantine, World Sailing President of Honour, remarked that these awards were “in recognition of an achievement that has been many years in the making. Every sailor on the nominee list has the ability to inspire the next generation and strengthen the legacy that our sport and every sport needs.”
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, sponsored by Rolex since 2001, are considered some of the most prestigious sailing awards.
4 October 2016
Britain’s Hannah Mills, Saskia Clark and Giles Scott have all been shortlisted for the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.
The announcement was made by World Sailing, the international governing body for the sport.
The award is considered one of the most prestigious in the sport of sailing.
Past winners have included the likes of Sir Peter Blake, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Ellen MacArthur, Sir Ben Ainslie, Isabelle Autissier, Pete Goss, Jimmy Spithill and Sarah Ayton.
Giles Scott is the only British nomination in the male category, following his success at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
A four-time Finn Gold Cup winner, Scott comfortably won gold at Rio, and has also been an important part of Land Rover BAR’s bid to compete for the America’s Cup.
Scott faces competition for the award from New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
The 49er pair dominated the Rio 2016 competition, taking gold. They are also the 2015 and 2016 49er World Champions.
Burling and Tuke have also taken senior roles at Emirate Team New Zealand, who are also vying for the chance to race for the America’s Cup.
Santiago Lange, 55, of Argentina inspired thousands after it was revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer and had a lung removed a year before taking part in the Olympic Games in Rio.
Paired with Cecilia Carranza Saroli in the Nacra 17, Lange was the oldest sailor competing.
The pair took gold, much to the delight of their home nation.
Both of them have been nominated in their respective categories for the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.
Paralympic sailor Damien Seguin of France has also made the male shortlist.
Described by World Sailing as “one of the most inspiring Paralympic sailors around”, Seguin is the Rio 2016 2.4 Norlin OD Paralympic gold medallist.
He is also the 2015 2.4 Norlin OD Para World Sailing Champion.
Croatia’s Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic are also shortlisted for the award.
The Men’s 470 pair took home their home country’s first sailing gold medal when they won their class at Rio 2016.
Earlier in the year, they won the 2016 Men’s 470 World Championships.
Team GB’s Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills have been nominated after winning gold in the Women’s 470 at Rio 2016.
World Sailing describes their build up to the Olympic Games as “near flawless”, with gold medals at the 2015 Sailing World Cup Final, silver at the 2015 World Championships and two 2016 World Cup golds from Hyeres and Weymouth and Portland.
Thousands watched Clark and Mills sail to a comfortable victory in Rio; the pair had enough points by this stage of the competition that they only had to complete the regatta to take gold.
Rio 2016 Laser Radial Olympic gold medallist, Marit Bouwmeester of The Netherlands also makes the female shortlist.
Her thirst for victory makes her “one of the most feared competitors around”, with wins in Brazil, the Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland and the Delta Lloyd Regatta.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil are also in the running for the Rolex Sailor of the Year Award, having secured gold in the 49erFX class at Rio 2016.
The pair found an extra edge to nudge out New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech and clinch victory by just two seconds.
Charline Picon of France is the last finalist in the female category.
The Rio 2016 Women’s RS:X Olympic gold medallist predicted her win after taking gold in the 2014 and 2015 Olympic Test Events.
Despite her confidence, it was a real battle to the finish with six sailors in the Women’s RS:X fleet in with the chance to win.
Although she tied for third in the final race, she had done more to beat her rivals and took gold.
The announcement of the 2016 female and male Rolex World Sailors of the Year will be made on 8 November 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.
The winners will be decided by World Sailing Member National Authorities and the public.
Public voting will commence at 12:00 UTC on 4 November 2016 for a period of 72 hours. Further details on how to vote will follow.
Winners will be presented with a unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.
The shortlist for the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL)
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO)
Santiago Lange (ARG)
Giles Scott (GBR)
Damien Seguin (FRA)
Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG)
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA)
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR)
Charline Picon (FRA)
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