Australian Olympic Committee announces Paris Olympics skiff selections

London silver medallist Olivia Price will return to the Olympic stage after being selected to the Australian Olympic Team by the Australian Olympic Committee for this year’s Paris Games, 12 years after becoming the youngest female sailor to win an Olympic medal.

She returns in a new class, with a new partner, after she was announced alongside Evie Haseldine in the 49erFX and Jim Colley and Shaun Connor in the 49er as Australia’s skiff selections for the Olympic regatta.

“Tears started welling up in my eyes,” said Price on receiving the selection call.

“I never thought I would come back to Olympic sailing so it is a really special feeling that I never thought I would get to feel again.”

Price missed selection for Rio 2016 in the 49erFX before taking time out of the sport, but returned when a social-distanced walk with lifelong friend and mentee Haseldine during a COVID-19 lockdown laid the foundation for Paris 2024.

“I’ve known Evie since she was born,” said Price with a laugh.

“I stopped sailing for about five years [but returned] once we had that conversation [about sailing together]. I wasn’t really looking for anything to step back into, but what really sparked my interest was Evie’s dedication, her enthusiasm for the sport, and doing whatever was required.”

The team went on to finish tenth at the Paris Olympic Test Event before securing Bronze at the 2023 World Championships in The Hague, Australia’s best World Championship result in the class.

“I’m looking to the next 130-odd days (before Paris), there is a lot more hard work coming but I think Evie and I are up to the challenge.”

The 49erFX team will be coached by Victor Paya Canal, who has led a resurgence in the squad since he took the reins in 2022.

“The squad has achieved some amazing results over the past 18 months and it’s a testament to how hard we’ve been pushing one another,” added Price. “We’ll continue to push each other as we move towards Paris.”

Colley and Connor’s selection is another one forged in longtime friendship and over a decade sailing together.

“We met when we were 11 or 12 at a Manly Juniors training camp at Middle Harbour Yacht Club, and first decided to sail a 29er together in 2013,” said Colley.

The duo from Sydney’s Northern Beaches began their 49er campaign in 2018, and Colley says they knew they “had the right ingredients to make a good team almost from the get-go.”

Their selection comes after a strong couple of years at regattas across the globe.

“The biggest high for us as a team was the Euros in 2022 where we finished fifth, because that felt like the first time we tapped into what we were capable of. We were able to build on everything we’d done, and from that moment we knew we could compete at the top end of the fleet.”

Colley smiles when asked about what makes Connor the ultimate sailing partner.

“We both refuse to give up, which has been something I have been proud of. We’ve had a huge amount of adversity and we’ve always worked at it and come back from it, which is what has now paid dividends.”

Josh Porebski will coach the team in Marseille. A native Kiwi, Josh has great memories of Marseille, finishing 2nd in the 49er Worlds there in 2013.

Australian Sailing President Alistair Murray AM spoke on behalf of the sport before the announcement.

“We are fortunate to have fantastic depth in our skiff classes in Australia, and both decisions were extremely difficult for the nomination panel,” said Murray.

“The two teams selected deserve this opportunity, and we look forward to watching them race in Marseille later this year.”

Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Anna Meares congratulated the four athletes on their selection in classes that have a relatively short Olympic history but a strong Australian connection.

“Skill and perseverance has brought all four athletes to this point where they will proudly represent Australia in the waters off Marseille in the sport’s ultimate contest.

“From Jim and Shaun sailing together since they were teenagers to Evie and Olivia turning a mentor relationship into a racing partnership, both these crews have demonstrated what you can achieve with teamwork and shared commitment.

“Congratulations to both crews, we wish them all well in Paris. The AOC would like to thank the families, coaches and others who have made it possible for all our athletes to compete and progress in the sport they love,” she said.

Australian Sailing would like to thank the support of its program partners, the Australian Institute of Sport and the New South Wales Institute of Sport for their roles in providing the underpinning programming and support to best position these selected athletes for success in Paris 2024.

The latest group of selected athletes join Matt Wearn (ILCA 7), Grae Morris (Men’s iQFOiL and Breiana Whitehead (Women’s Formula Kite) on the Australian Olympic Team for Paris, where the sailing competition will commence on the waters of Marseille from July 28.

Michael Martin, Australian Sailing, Head of Marketing and Communications

Olivia Price Quick Facts

  • Aged: 31
  • Club: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Drummoyne Sailing Club
  • Experience:
    • London 2012 Olympics – Silver
  • Best results:
    • Silver – London 2012 Olympics
    • Bronze – 2023 49erFX World Championships
    • Bronze – 2022 Allianz Regatta
    • Australian Sailing Female Sailor of the Year – 2012
  • New South Wales Institute of Sport athlete

Evie Haseldine Quick Facts

  • Aged: 20
  • Club: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Drummoyne Sailing Club
  • Experience: Olympic Debut
  • Best results:
    • Bronze – 2023 49erFX World Championships
    • Bronze – 2022 Allianz Regatta
  • New South Wales Institute of Sport athlete

Jim Colley Quick Facts

  • Aged: 26
  • Club: Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
  • Experience: Olympic Debut
  • Best results:
    • Silver – 2023 Semaine Olympique Francaise De Voile
    • 5th – 2022 49er European Championships
    • 5th – 2023 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia
  • New South Wales Institute of Sport athlete

Shaun Connor Quick Facts

  • Aged: 25
  • Club: Manly 16ft Skiff Club
  • Experience: Olympic Debut
  • Best results:
    • Silver – 2023 Semaine Olympique Francaise De Voile
    • 5th – 2022 49er European Championships
    • 5th – 2023 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia
  • New South Wales Institute of Sport athlete

Follow the Australian Sailing Team
Web: www.australiansailingteam.com.au
Instagram: @aussailingteam
Facebook: @aussailingteam

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