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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Scott says gold not a given in Rio quest

Published: 9 August 2016
Images provide by the Royal Yachtin
Giles Scott © The Royal Yachting Association

Four-time World Champion Giles Scott is bidding to continue Britain’s remarkable four Olympics Finn class winning streak, but insists gold is not a foregone conclusion as his quest for Rio 2016 glory gets underway.


Giles, a Southampton graduate in 2008 with a BSc in Geography with Geology, picks up the heavyweight dinghy baton from previous British Olympic Finn champions, Iain Percy (Sydney 2000) and Sir Ben Ainslie (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012). With gold at both Rio Test Events and victory in 16 of his 18 world-ranked regattas since 2012, Giles is one of the leading contenders to claim the Rio crown.

After starting his sailing career at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire – same as fellow Southampton graduate and Olympic sailing teammate Ben Axton – Giles progressed through the ranks to claim his first medal, a bronze, at the World and European Laser Radial Youth Championships.

Moving to the Laser Standard class of boat, Giles won the World Youth Championship before finishing seventh at the 2007 Senior World Championships while still a student in Southampton. He then moved to the heavier Finn class of boat and by 2011 was European and World Champion, pushing Ben Ainslie all the way in selection trials for a spot at London 2012.

Over the last three years, Giles has been unstoppable in the Finn class, adding three more World Championships to make him a firm favourite for gold in Rio. He’s also been preparing for his next career move, gaining experience in America’s Cup yachts for Team Korea and the Italian ‘Luna Rossa’ which competed in 2013. Once he’s completed his Rio challenge, Giles will sail as part of Ben Ainslie’s team in the 2017 America’s Cup but for now his attentions are firmly on the waters in Guanabara Bay.

“I’m realistic in the fact it's not going to be easy,” he said. “A lot of people have said it's a sure thing I’ll win which it certainly isn't, it's an Olympic Games, it's arguably one of the hardest sailing regattas you can do and nothing is given. You can't go off past form, you have to go there and prove that you are the best in the venue to win.

“For three-and-a-half years winning gold has been the main driving force behind everything I've been doing, every day of the year. Everything I do on any given day, I want to have a positive impact on my chances of winning Olympic gold, but there are an awful lot of people out there that are trying very, very hard to do the same.

“Rio is a really, really difficult place to do a sailing event. It's got incredibly complex tidal flows, the topography around the city is about as tricky as it can be in terms of disturbing the wind and the wind you get is generally pretty fickle. All these lead to some very unpredictable racing, which ultimately brings an element of chance. 

“The person who wins the regatta will be the person that has managed all those things the best. I know what you need to do to be able to win races and that is to be able to sail quicker over a shorter distance than everyone else, that's ultimately what our sport boils down to. I'm confident in where I'm at and I can certainly do it.”



Images provide by the Royal Yachting Association
Images provide by the Royal Yachting Association
Images provide by the Royal Yachting Association
Images provide by the Royal Yachting Association
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