Dublin sailor Annalise Murphy brought home Ireland’s second medal of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Tuesday, taking silver in the Women’s Laser Radial (Dinghy) sailing competition.
Four years after she suffered heartbreak at the London Games, the 26-year-old from Rathfarnham, Dublin, returned to grace the podium in second place.
As she entered the race this morning, Murphy stood in line for the bronze but managed to improve on that throughout the final medal race to clinch the silver.
Coming in fifth in today’s final race, she moved up just behind Dutch winner Marit Bouwmeester and secured the Olympic dream she so agonizingly missed out on in London, leading most of the way only to end up in fourth position.
“This time four years ago I finished fourth and it was the hardest day of my life. I said I was going to come back and try to get a medal. So to actually go and do it is incredible. I’m so happy,” Murphy told RTÉ after the race.
“I don’t know whether I’m laughing or crying. But I was just so happy I was able to do it. In the last race I was able to put everything together really well.
“I didn’t think I was going to be in this position. Even a few months ago I was sailing really badly. So to be able to come and do it when it mattered was just incredible.”
SHE'S DONE IT!!!!— Annalise Murphy (@Annalise_Murphy) August 16, 2016
The gold medal went to Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands (61 points), and the bronze to Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark (71 points), who Murphy (67 points) overtook in the final race.
This is the first time Team Ireland has won a medal in sailing since the Moscow Games 36 years ago in which David Wilkins and Jamie Wilkinson won in the Flying Dutchman class.
Ireland’s medal total now stands at two silvers as Murphy adds to the success of rowers Paul and Gary O’Donovan, who won in the lightweight men’s double sculls last week. The brothers have since become Olympic superstars for their typically Irish interview technique with GQ magazine branding them one of the best parts of this year's Games.
Murphy’s success also comes after a difficult few days for team Ireland in which two gold medal boxing hopefuls Katie Taylor and Michael Conlon were knocked out of their respective competitions in controversial and upsetting circumstances.