There was a huge contingent of Australian Sailing team members standing in the "friends and family" zone. Intermingled were Tom Slingsby's parents David and Mavis, his girlfriend Flavia Tartaglini, his two sisters and their partners and a lot of people I didn't recognise who were wearing Team Slingsby tee-shirts. The scene was set.
The announcer asked us to welcome the medallists from the Men's Laser. Proudly led out by Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren who had survived a protest by the race committee, Tom Slingsby and Pavlos Kontides followed. The Swedes and the Cypriots cheered, but the Australians cheered louder.
The minor medallists were introduced and were applauded, and then the announcer, first in French and then in English, said those words that Tom Slingsby has been hearing in his head for 12 long years.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the gold medallist, Tom Slingsby, Australia."
I was supposed to be standing in the media section, but I had snuck into the "friends and family" zone. Instead of hearing camera lenses clicking, I heard a roar. Glancing around, there were plenty of tears. The gold medal was placed around Tom's neck, the flowers were presented to him and he raised his arms in triumph. We all roared again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the national anthem of Australia."
Tom, Pavlos and Rasmus turned to face the three flag poles, the first bars of Advance Australia Fair rang out and the crowd began to sing. It wasn't great singing. It wasn't even good singing. But there was no doubting the passion. I couldn't tell if Tom shed a little tear, but when he turned back to face the cameras and invited his fellow medallists onto the top step, there was a grin from ear to ear.
That's when the chanting began again. "Tommy, Tommy, Tommy..."
Just like when Tom won his fourth world championship in Perth, the Australian Sailing Team had shown it was a close-knit bunch that genuinely gets on well together and that Tom Slinsgby is one of it's most popular members.
I'm supposed to be a cycnical member of the media. Tonight I was proud to be a mate of Tom Slingsby's.
- Roger McMillan
"The idea that is been made the S8 sportboat is made from a chopper gun should bring its rating down under .9 n..."
Craig Doran on Entries now open for rev...
"Poor Mik, I feel sad for you."
Captain Bazza on Naked enjoyment on Cap...