LUKE Patience was gracious in conceding defeat to arch rival Mathew Belcher at London 2012 – but he insists Olympic silver in Weymouth can be the platform to his own prolonged dominance.
Aberdeen-born Patience, along with his crew in the 470 boat Stuart Bithell, spent almost every race dicing with Australian pairing Belcher and Malcolm Page, the world champions for the past three years.
Ahead of the medal race, delayed a day due to light winds, just four points separated them with Patience and Bithell needing to finish two places ahead to claim gold. As it was Belcher and Page battled to second to take the gold their nation expected while Patience and Bithell were fourth to consolidate the silver that was the least they could achieve.
What happens now is clear for Patience and Bithell – a break before setting sail towards the next Olympics in Rio in 2016 – but for Belcher and Page it is less so.
“It is something that’s been building for so many years – you dream of that moment and you dream of standing on the podium so the best is yet to come,” said Patience. “There was a point in the race where we accepted that we had fought pretty hard but there wasn’t enough race left to do anything about it. That was about halfway down the last run so we just enjoyed the rest of the race. But the point is we are 25 years old and we have got an Olympic medal.
“This week has been a blast – it is just good fun – and I’m so glad to steer a boat for Stuart – he is a great friend and a legend.”
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