Magical Murphy an Irish icon

by Gazette Reporter
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ANNALISE MURPHY put to bed the ghosts of Weymouth to win Ireland’s second medal of the Rio Olympics on Tuesday night, with the radial sailor from Dun Laoghaire National Yacht Club coming through a tense medal race to pick up a long-overdue silver.
The 2012 London Olympics had hung over Murphy ahead of the medal race in particular. She surprised many then to win the first four races of those Games, only to fall victim to nerves over the last two days
The finale – which sees the field narrowed to the top dozen competitors and holds a greater weighting than the dozen races that proceed it – had been Murphy’s undoing when she raced in the Weymouth-based event at the London Olympics. That time around, she slipped from a narrow second place to a wrenching fourth. With any position from the gold medal to fifth a possibility going into the finale this time around, Murphy held her nerve.
Working on her weaknesses over the last four years had become a big part of Murphy’s game and it’s easy to see why when, at six foot one, she stands seven inches above most of her competitors. Speaking to GazetteSport in Rio, she found it hard to contain her delight.
“I realised that it was going to be gold or silver when I reached the second top mark because I was a good bit ahead of Anne-Marie [Rindom, from Denmark, who eventually took bronze] and Marit [Bouwmeester, the eventual gold medallist from Holland],” Murphy said after the finale, “so I think I was in gold for a good while but lost a few [places] on that last downwind. Once I crossed the line I knew I was in silver and I was absolutely delighted.”
“It feels amazing,” she continued. “This time four years ago I was just devastated, I had just finished fourth and to come back and get the silver medal, it’s just an incredible feeling. I said I was going to do this but for the last few years I didn’t think I was going to be able to, so it’s incredible.”
Murphy celebrated by throwing herself into the Guanabara Bay, with much of her family looking on from the beach.
“I felt like I drank three litres of water as I jumped in, ‘cause I was screaming,” she explained. “I went out today knowing I couldn’t treat it any different than any other race I’ve done this week, so I was just going to attack it and not being afraid of losing ‘cause that’s what happened four years ago, I was afraid of losing instead of trying to win.”
“I started this year and I kinda thought that my best was past me. To be able to come back when it actually mattered and get a result in a really difficult week of racing, I’m just so happy.”
With the Laser Radial World Championship having taken place in Dun Laoghaire, Murphy is already looking to the future after clocking Ireland’s first Olympic sailing medal since the Moscow Olympics 36 years ago. “I hope I can inspire a whole new generation of sailors to get to the Olympics and achieve something,” she concluded.

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