Annalise Murphy looks set Olympic Gold Medal

Irish sailor Annalise Murphy is now 1/10 to win a Gold medal after making it four wins from four races.

Tonight the headlines belong to Annalise Murphy – and rightly so. Four Wins  In a Row – Magnificent.

As we reported in our LIVE commentary section earlier today, Annalise Murphy comfortably won both her races in the Olympic  Laser Radial event at Weymouth and Portland today and is now favourite with most bookies to annex that elusive Gold when the Medal ceremony takes place. That however is a long way away and I know that neither Annalise nor the Irish Team Management will be overconfident,  for in an event which is often decided by the weather conditions anything can happen. It may be a ‘long way to Tipperary’ but it sure is a long road yet to the Podium at Weymouth.
Today though we should celebrate the amazing achievement todate of this young 22 years old Dublin student. “Stunning” “Unbelievable” “Magic”  ” words being used tonight to describe her four in a row.
ISA Sailing gives us this breakdown of how the racing works from hereonin : ” 6 races to go! Of the 10 series races sailed you can discard your worst result. Then the top 10 sailors go into the medal race which is double points and cannot be discarded. The sailor on the lowest points wins!”
Who is Annalise Murphy?  How did she qualify for London 2012?  Any family background in sailing?
Annalise Murphy is a 22 year old UCD student who is competingin her first Olympic Games. She sails a boat called the Laser Radial which is the Women’s Single Handed Olympic Class.

A typical day’s training for Annalise can vary from a 4 hour cycle around the Dublin Mountains, intense strength and conditioning workouts with Mark Mc Cabe in Sport’s Med Ireland to on the water sessions out of her home club the National Yacht Club in DunLaoghaire.

When abroad Annalise will bring her bike and her boat to continue this training and to compete in the different regattas around the world.

She qualified for London 2012 in  Perth, Western Australia last December. December.  Perth was a great success for Annalise where she finished 6th overall securing her place in London 2012 by a large margin. This year has been a mix of highs and lows but overall Annalise’s consistency in putting series of races together has improved. She had a disappointing event in Palma and at the Worlds in Germany but climbed back up from this low to win bronze again at the Sail for Gold Regatta  in Weymouth, a town she has always loved and where some of her most inspiring performances have been achieved,even before this week.
At 6ft 1 inch (185cm)  and  72kg (159lbs) she is an ideal build for the Laser Radial class and of course she also benefits from having a great family background. Mum Cathy and Dad Con were well known sailors. Her hobbies she says are : “Sailing, surfing, hockey”.
It is a hugely expensive sport and Annalise  has no sponsorship apart from a very welcome   €5,000 donated to a few athletes by Tayto.  in return for which they carry Mr Tayto around for photographs. As Annalise  said recently  the Germans get an Audi TT each, and she gets to carry Mr Tayto. However that could well now all change after such a tremendous performance in Weymouth with hopefully even better to come.
It does help though that she received a podium grant of Euros 40,000 from the Irish Sports Council though that does not last long when you take into account the huge cost of world travel, accommodation and associated expenses but of course her family have been of tremendous help down through the years.
Her  Mum  Cathy (nee McAleavey), represented Ireland in sailing at the 1988 Olympic Games Cathy with husband, Con, (also a fine sailor,indeed Cathy’s coach at the Seoul Olympics) , still holds the Round Ireland speed record, set in 1993 as crew on Steve Fossett’s trimaran Lakota.

‘I’ll leave that record to my parents,’ Annalise told the ‘Irish Times’ on receiving a Sportswoman of the Month award

The  three Murphy offspring,   Claudine, Finn and Annalise, “grew up thinking that the Olympics was just something you did”, Cathy told the “Irish Times” in an interview last week.

Annalise,she explained,  pushed on with her Olympics campaign after her Leaving Certificate, Claudine knuckled down to her engineering degree and went on to do a masters in biomechanics.

“Now they’re so close,” she says. Claudine flew back this week from the Dominican Republic – where she had been kiteboarding – to support her sister. Kiteboarding is a sport that happens to be making its debut at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. “Claudine is thinking of having a go. My husband has gone grey . Cathy joked with the “Irish Times”.

Finn meantime has “taken over” Annalise’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and is keeping her legion of fans up todate   @annalise_murphy    and via

Annalise crewed her first boat at the tender age of six and first moved to her current Laser Radial class back in 2005. Currently ranked 11 in the world, she showed her class and early promise by finishing eight  the 2009 Worlds.

She is currently on ‘sailing leave’ from her  science degree in UCD to allow her to  concentrate full time on sailing, in that quest for a medal in the Olympics.

Back in December, after qualifying via Perth ,  she told RTE  :

”After this year I feel like I am a medal contender for the Games. 2011 has been a brilliant year for me: I’ve finished in the top ten at every World Cup – bar one where I was 11th – and sixth at the Olympic Test Event and now the worlds.”.

Annalise told the I.S.A.F in Weymouth this evening  :  “It can’t get much better than winning the first four races but there’s still six fleet races left so it’s going to be really tough. All of the girls are really good and I think I’ve had a bit of luck and things have gone my way but that doesn’t always happen in sailing.”
With further big winds predicted throughout the week Murphy, who is one of the best big wind Laser Radial sailors, is taking it day by day, “I’m trying not to look at the forecast,” said Murphy. “We’ve got a forecast guy and he tells us in the morning what’s going to happen. I don’t want to think about it too much but if you start speculating on the forecast you’re just going to get obsessed with what could happen.”

GB’s Alison Young clawed herself back into contention for the medals today with two seconds having had a shaky start to the regatta. She takes 21 points into the third day of racing and will want to put in a similar performance to overcome Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who’s third on 18 points and Van Acker, second on 16.

The Radials resume racing tomorrow at 12:00 local time on the Weymouth Bay West course.

We will of course keep you abreast of Annalise’s progress throughout the Olympics and join with you all in wishing her every success in the days ahead. You can of course send her a message of your own wishing her well via Facebook or Twitter.

Race 4
Place Name Time Race Pts +
1 irl MURPHY Annalise 1:01:59 1 +
2 gbr YOUNG Alison +0:30 2 +
3 chn XU Lijia +0:59 3 +
4 fin MULTALA Sari +1:13 4 +
5 ned BOUWMEESTER Marit +1:16 5 +
6 cze FENCLOVA Veronika +1:48 6 +
7 ita CLAPCICH Francesca +1:54 7 +
8 bel Van ACKER Evi +1:56 8
1 irl 1 1 1 1 4 4 +
2 bel 3 2 3 8 16 16 +
3 ned 6 3 4 5 18 18 +
4 gbr 7 10 2 2 21 21 +
5 chn 5 8 11 3 27 27 +
6 fin 4 6 15 4 29 29 +
7 ltu 2 13 9 10 34 34 +
8 cze 23 4 7 6 40 40

Rules of Laser radial class
Points are awarded in each race: first scores one point, second scores two points, etc. There are ten races which nine are counted towards your score and then finally a medal race. The 10 best sailors then advance to the medal race. Points are doubled, so first place gets two points, second gets four, etc. The points total after the medal race determines the placings. The athlete/crew with the lowest number of points is the winner.


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