Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan will be Australia’s Olympic Men’s 470 class sailing representatives at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Since teaming up after the 2012 London Olympics Mat and Will had immediate success winning the first event they competed in. They have remained virtually undefeated throughout 2013, 2014, and 2015. Most recently they won the world championship in Israel.
Born on the Gold Coast in 1982, Mathew Belcher was introduced to sailing at the young age of seven. Following the 2000 Sydney Olympics Mathew set himself the goal of becoming an Australian Olympic representative and winning an Olympic gold medal.
Mathew achieved his goal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where together with Malcolm Page he won gold in the 470 class.
On the way to winning the Olympic Championship Matthew won three consecutive world 470 sailing championships (2010, 2011, 2012). With crewmember Will Ryan he has defended the world 470 championship titles in 2013, 2014, 2015, and as recently as 2017.
Mathew was determined to defend his Olympic gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He became International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Sailor of the Year 2014, after being a finalist on 3 previous occasions in 2010, 2012 and 2013. He was able, along with Will, to achieve a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Mathew is a member of the Australian Institute of Sport Athletes’ Commission, International Olympic Class 470 Management Committee, and a member of Yachting Australia’s Athletes Commission. He is now focused on Tokyo 2020.
First introduced to the waters of Sydney Harbour at 2 days old, it took Will a while to start racing sailboats, however since his first time crewing in an old wooden Sabot on the waters of Lake Macquarie – he has never looked back.
Progressing quickly through a range of junior classes including State and National Championships, Will turned his focus as a helmsman to the sailing discipline of Match Racing, Yachts and 18 foot Skiffs. In the same month he finished his schooling, Will was the youngest competitor in the 2006 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
After a chance meeting with Olympic ‘Medal Maker Coach’ Victor Kovalenko the realisation of a pathway towards the Olympics became evident, and since 2009, Will has focused purely upon the 470 class, with an Olympic silver medal in 2016 achieved with Mat.
Will has been a finalist in the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Sailor of the Year awards in both 2013 and 2014. Together Mat and Will were awarded the title in 2014 of Yachting Australia’s male sailors of the year.
A hunger for competition and elite sports fuels the drive for Will as he works towards success in Tokyo and earning a piece in sporting history. Along with Mat, he achieved a win and gold at the World Championships in 2017.