Tokyo 2020: British Finn dominance at risk

The Finn, the Men’s Heavyweight Dinghy, is the oldest boat at the Olympic Games, making its debut at the 1952 edition when Denmark’s four-time Olympic Champion Paul Elvstrom won the event in Helsinki.

For the past two decades, Great Britain has won this event at every Games since 2000 when Iain Percy took gold on Sydney Harbour. Sir Ben Ainslie won three consecutive gold medals from 2004 to 2012 before passing on the baton to Giles Scott who won in Rio 2016. While Scott was the clear favourite for the last Games, this time the Briton really has his work cut out if he’s to defend the title.

Josh Junior will be representing New Zealand in the upcoming Olympic Games © Robert Deaves

In 2019 New Zealand’s Josh Junior became the first ever New Zealander to win the Finn Gold Cup, the first Kiwi to win in the long history of this prestigious regatta. Despite his compatriot and training partner Andy Maloney winning the most recent edition of the Finn Gold Cup, Junior narrowly won selection ahead of his friend who goes to the Games as Junior’s coach. Imagine that! The reigning World Champion – as your coach.

There are many other serious challengers to Scott’s crown, but the 34-year-old will not lie down without a fight. After dominating the four-year cycle into Rio 2016, his preparation for Tokyo has been more fragmented because of America’s Cup commitments. However, the defending Olympic Champion has four Finn Gold Cups under his belt, and is still the most successful sailor in the fleet. At 1.98m, he’s also one of the tallest.

Scott openly admits that his time with INEOS Team UK, training and racing alongside Sir Ben Ainslie, was a distraction in many ways. But he’s looking to draw the positives for his defence of the Olympic crown.

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