Rule Britannia! Team GB sailors set Olympic gold streak record with latest win

·3 min read

Watch: The dramatic final moments of Great Britain's double gold

After a week of jostling for wind and qualification places ahead of the double point races in the Olympic sailing, Team GB's boats produced two of the most dramatic races in the sport's history on Tuesday.

The upshot for one of them? The longest gold medal streak for Great Britain in any sporting event at the Olympic Games continued in emphatic fashion when Giles Scott inched his way to a dramatic men's Finn defence. 

Great Britain recorded a sixth consecutive gold medal in the event at Enoshima Yacht Harbour when Scott crossed the line in fifth, the position he needed to take the title.

Britain's ruling of the Finn class now stretches back to Iain Percy's title win at Sydney 2000, as Scott became the third sailor to win multiple gold medals in Finn after British great Ben Ainslie and Denmark's Paul Elvstrom.

It is the longest gold medal streak by any nation in an Olympic sailing event.

FUJISAWA, JAPAN - AUGUST 03: Giles Scott of Team Great Britain celebrates after winning gold in the Men's Finn class on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Enoshima Yacht Harbour on August 03, 2021 in Fujisawa, Japan. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Giles Scott celebrates after winning gold in the Men's Finn class on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)

“It's special. Since the America's Cup I've been sailing for three and a bit months, I was second at the Europeans and ninth at the Worlds but the target was the Olympics," said Scott. "We've had a few wobbles along the way but we've done it when we needed to."

But Scott's gold was by no means easy after a terrible start saw him searching for a way through the fleet. Coming down win on the final stretch, gold was only clinched on the line by the tightest of margins.

“That's the greatest pressure of my career," added Scott. "It climbed throughout the race, that was full on.

“I made it by the skin of my teeth, it was properly to the wire, it was really tight. I tried to stay relaxed but I've never been involved in a boat race as close as that.

“It was mine to lose, if it had been any other race there was no way I'd go back."

This nail-biting win was perhaps Scott's last Olympic appearance as the Finn class isn't part of the programme for the 2024 Games in Paris.

FUJISAWA, JAPAN - AUGUST 03: Dylan Fletcher (R) and Stuart Bithell of Team Great Britain celebrate as they win gold in the Men's Skiff 49er class on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Enoshima Yacht Harbour on August 03, 2021 in Fujisawa, Japan. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher of Team GB celebrate after winning dramatic gold in the Men's Skiff 49er class. (Getty Images)

Earlier on Tuesday, Team GB pair Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher needed to finish two positions clear of New Zealand in the men's 49er skiff and did so by centimetres to snatch an incredible gold. 

The British duo edged Germany at the line to snatch gold away from the Kiwis.

"It was pretty stressful but amazing," said Fletcher. "Sometimes the gold medal is won on a fine margin, so hopefully it was a great race for the fans."

Meanwhile, a record unbeaten streak in athletics was finally broken on Monday when Kenya failed to win the men's 3000m steeplechase for the first time in 41 years. A run of nine straight gold medals was broken by Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali.

There are, however, some active records still in tact, notably South Korea, which has won every single gold medal in women's team archery since 1988.

Watch: 'I watched my dad nearly die from a heart attack. 11 years later we won Olympic gold'

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