Olympic Champions Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark have been revealed as Rolex World Sailors of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony in Barcelona this evening (8 November).
Emphatic winners of the 470 Women's event at the Rio 2016 Games, Mills and Clark beat four other female Olympic Champions to the coveted annual prize, ensuring the perfect end to their partnership as Clark bows out of Olympic competition.
The British Sailing Team duo were up against Dutch Laser Radial winner Marit Bouwmeester (NED), RS:X windsurfing gold medallist Charline Picon (FRA), Nacra 17 gold medal-winning crew Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) and 49erFX Olympic Champions Martine Grael-Kahena Kunze (BRA), and emerged victorious from a combination of public votes, votes from World Sailing's Member National Authorities around the world, and on-the-night attendees.
Rio Finn gold medallist and four-time World Champion Giles Scott was one of the five male nominees, but was pipped to the prize by 55-year-old Santiago Lange (ARG), winner of the Nacra 17 gold in Rio. New Zealand's 49er Champions Peter Burling-Blair Tuke, 470 Men's winners Sime Fantela-Igor Marenic (CRO) and 2.4mR Paralympic gold medallist Damien Seguin (FRA) were also in the running.
Receiving their award, Mills described the occasion as 'completely overwhelming'.
"We're so grateful to everyone who's here tonight to celebrate sailing and what a fantastic sport it is. Thank you to everyone who voted for us, but also to all the other nominees who were just incredible this summer. Rio was a fantastic Games and the Brazilians put on an amazing show. Everyone had to deliver their absolute best performance.
"It's really emotional, thank you very much everyone."
Clark added: "We owe a big thank you to our coach Joe Glanfield who's been a massive part of this, and all our family at British Sailing.
"This is just an amazing end to our partnership together."
photo Wagner Araujo
photo Jay Adeff