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Sailor Tom Burton says he can't believe he won a gold medal

Australia took seven sailing crews to Rio - six made their medal races, four won medals.

Burton’s gold came with a genuine sigh of relief from the Australian Olympic team, who have suffered a plethora of near-misses and have waited three days for a seventh gold medal, following rowing’s Kim Brennan’s victory in the single sculls.
With a garaunteed podium-finish secured before Tuesday’s medal race, it appeared unlikely that Burton would be able to the shake overall leader, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia.
In order to win gold, Burton needed to finish five boats ahead of Stipanovic, who in-turn only needed to sit on the 25-year-old Australian’s tail to claim his maiden gold medal.
But in a stunning piece of water sport and sailing on the start line, Burton dropped under the Croation’s guard, forcing Stipanovic to react by chasing hard and ultimately hitting the Australian’s Laser.
Stipanovic was forced into a penalty turn, leaving Burton to sprint and race to achieve the greatest moment of his career.
“The percentage chances that I could pull it off was pretty slim,’’ an ecastic Burton said after the race.
“ You want to do it and you want it to come off, but we see this at many Olympics and many other championships, it’s quite easy to slow a guy down.
“For the one move I needed to come off, that was critical to the race.’’
Burton, who trains out of the same Middle Harbour yacht club in Sydney which Darmanin and Waterhouse also reside, described his victory and journey to the top as “long one.’’
“Coming from when I first started winning laser’s through all the events and then a few years ago winning events and then having not such a great year last year and a tough selection to even be here,’’ Burton said.
“I few days ago, after the first day, I thought I was nearly out of it after a bad day.
“But the amount of hours I put in, the things that I sacrificed, I missed my sister’s wedding, I didn’t go to the opening ceremony to try and get a good result and it’s all worth it now.’’
In tears just 48-hours earlier, Waterhouse needed to be consoled by her cousin Darmanin after a self-confessed “shocker” saw them finish 17th ahead of Tuesday’s medal race and in fourth position overall.
However, displaying mental fortitude beyond their years, the relatives responded in the medal race and at one point, were in the hunt for gold.

It's a strike rate that leaves other big squads in their wake, with only the swimming team winning more medals from vastly more chances.
"If we can come to an environment like this and convert essentially four medal chances ... that's a pretty damn good outcome," Australian Sailing team leader Peter Conde said.
The medal run was four years in the making.
"We had our first trip here six months before the last Olympics," Conde said.
"We started in April 2012; we had the first sailors training here in November 2012."
All four of Australia's expected medal chances finished in the top two in Rio.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, who won silver in the men's 470, made 10 trips to Rio to learn the complex conditions.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, who won silver in the Nacra 17, had a similar story.
"We've spent almost six months in Rio sailing in these waters just to get acclimatised to the conditions," Waterhouse said.
However, despite all the preparation, Rio's complex weather and water patterns meant some Australian favourites faced a fight just to stay in touch with the leaders.
Tom Burton won gold in the Laser but only after a "one in 10" tactical move on the starting line came off to perfection.
And Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen were unable to get in front of the New Zealand crew in the 49er, who claimed gold ahead of Australia's silver.
But the medals weren't the only measure of success - Jake Lilley made the Finn medal race while Ashley Stoddart did the same in the Laser Radial.
Both 23-year-olds showed the potential to push for better results in future Games.
If they are selected for Tokyo 2020 they will know the Australian Sailing Team has already put in the work to see them succeed.
"That started again in April. Our first trip to Tokyo (was) in April," Conde said.


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