Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

 

Annalise Murphy Talks 'Rollercoaster' Years Before Olympic Medal Win on The Late Late Show

3rd September 2016
Annalise Murphy on last night's Late Late Show Annalise Murphy on last night's Late Late Show Photo: RTÉ

#AnnaliseMurphy - Annalise Murphy has spoken of how the sting of missing out on a medal at London 2012 haunted her over the years of preparations for the Rio Olympics this summer – till she decided to make sailing fun again.

The Laser Radial silver medallist was a guest on last night's Late Late Show on RTÉ One – now available to watch on demand on the RTÉ Player – where she opened up to host Ryan Tubridy about the pressure her experience in Weymouth put her under.

"That medal race in London, it's kind of haunted me for the last four years," she said. "I always had this sort of voice in the back of my head, thinking maybe that was my moment and I messed it up.

"Olympic medals, they're really hard to come by, and I thought, maybe I wasn't going to get a medal in Rio, and that was going to be as good as it was going to get."

Murphy described her training in the intervening four years as a "rollercoaster", in particular last year's test event at the Rio sailing course, intended to see what shape she was in for this summer's games, where she placed last in the first day's races.

"The harder I tried, the 'more last' I would come," she said. "I nearly had to see the funny side of it, [because] I'd trained so hard and it just wasn't working out for me."

Murphy said the turning point was when she realised "I haven't been having fun, I need to start enjoying this again."

As a result, she regained her confidence "and in the last couple of months leading into the Olympics, I really felt like I was having good form and everything might start to work out my way."

Murphy credits her coach Rory Fitzpatrick, sports psychologist Kate Kirby and training partner Sara Winther with establishing a routine during the daunting week of racing in Rio, and keeping her "always in a really good frame of mind, just really enjoying it. Not getting stressed out, when I think of how some of the other competitors were."

But into the final medal race, she says she "suddenly had the fear of 'Oh no, I'm going to finish fourth again, this is going to be terrible.'"

Getting out on the water, the windy conditions gave a boost to the erstwhile 'Queen of the Breeze'.

However, when things got a bit too gusty, and Murphy suffered a number of capsizes, the race was postponed and she recalls: "At that stage I just wanted it to be done.

"I went into that [rescheduled medal] race thinking 'If I'm afraid ... I'm going to lose out.' I went in with zero fear. I was just like, 'You have to go and attack this race and see what happens.'"

It wasn't till she was in second place around the last windward mark, alongside Great Britain's Alison Young, and knowing both were far ahead of their closest rivals, that she realised a silver medal was hers at the very least.

"For it all to suddenly come together at the right time, it was just this feeling of relief," she said.

"Now I can look back and go, 'That was a really good fourth place in London.'"

Earlier in the evening, rowing silver medallists at Rio – and Afloat.ie rowers of the month for May 2015 – Paul and Gary O'Donovan shared their own story with Tubridy from the Late Late Show couch, which is also available on the RTÉ Player till 2 October.

Published in Annalise Murphy
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

Email The Author

MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Annalise Murphy Olympic Silver Medalist

The National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy (born 1 February 1990) is a Dublin Bay sailor who won a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is a native of Rathfarnham, a suburb of Dublin.

Murphy competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Women's Laser Radial class. She won her first four days of sailing at the London Olympics and, on the fifth day, came in 8th and 19th position.

They were results that catapulted her on to the international stage but those within the tiny sport of Irish sailing already knew her of world-class capability in a breeze and were not surprised.

On the sixth day of the competition, she came 2nd and 10th and slipped down to second, just one point behind the Belgian world number one.

Annalise was a strong contender for the gold medal but in the medal race, she was overtaken on the final leg by her competitors and finished in 4th, her personal best at a world-class regatta and Ireland's best Olympic class result in 30 years.

Radial European Gold

Murphy won her first major medal at an international event the following year on home waters when she won gold at the 2013 European Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay.

Typically, her track record continues to show that she performs best in strong breezes that suit her large stature (height: 1.86 m Weight: 72 kg).

She had many international successes on her road to Rio 2016 but also some serious setbacks including a silver fleet finish in flukey winds at the world championships in the April of Olympic year itself.

Olympic Silver Medal

On 16 August 2016, Murphy won the silver medal in the Laser Radial at the 2016 Summer Olympics defying many who said her weight and size would go against her in Rio's light winds.

As Irish Times Sailing Correspondent David O'Brien pointed out: " [The medal] was made all the more significant because her string of consistent results was achieved in a variety of conditions, the hallmark of a great sailor. The medal race itself was a sailing master class by the Dubliner in some decidedly fickle conditions under Sugarloaf mountain".

It was true that her eight-year voyage ended with a silver lining but even then Murphy was plotting to go one better in Tokyo four years later.

Sportswoman of the Year

In December 2016, she was honoured as the Irish Times/Sport Ireland 2016 Sportswoman of the Year.

In March, 2017, Annalise Murphy was chosen as the grand marshal of the Dublin St Patrick's day parade in recognition of her achievement at the Rio Olympics.

She became the Female World Champion at the Moth Worlds in July 2017 in Italy but it came at a high price for the Olympic Silver medallist. A violent capsize in the last race caused her to sustain a knee injury which subsequent scans revealed to be serious. 

Volvo Ocean Race

The injury was a blow for her return to the Olympic Laser Radial discipline and she withdrew from the 2017 World Championships. But, later that August, to the surprise of many, Murphy put her Tokyo 2020 ambitions on hold for a Volvo Ocean Race crew spot and joined Dee Caffari’s new Turn the Tide On Plastic team that would ultimately finish sixth from seventh overall in a global circumnavigation odyssey.

Quits Radial for 49erFX

There were further raised eyebrows nine months later when, during a break in Volvo Ocean Race proceedings, in May 2018 Murphy announced she was quitting the Laser Radial dinghy and was launching a 49er FX campaign for Tokyo 2020. Critics said she had left too little time to get up to speed for Tokyo in a new double-handed class.

After a 'hugely challenging' fourteen months for Murphy and her crew Katie Tingle, it was decided after the 2019 summer season that their 'Olympic medal goal' was no longer realistic, and the campaign came to an end. Murphy saying in interviews “I guess the World Cup in Japan was a bit of a wakeup call for me, I was unable to see a medal in less than twelve months and that was always the goal".

The pair raced in just six major regattas in a six month timeframe. 

Return to Radial

In September 2019, Murphy returned to the Laser Radial dinghy and currently leads a four-way trial for the Tokyo 2020 Irish Olympic spot.

 

At A Glance – Annalise Murphy Significant Results

2016: Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Silver

2013: European Championships, Dublin, Ireland – Gold

2012: Summer Olympics, London, UK – 4th

2011: World Championships, Perth, Australia – 6th

2010: Skandia Sail for Gold regatta – 10th

2010: Became the first woman to win the Irish National Championships.

2009: World Championships – 8th

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating