Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan are Australian Olympic Men’s 470 class sailing gold medal winners.
Since teaming up after the 2012 London Olympics, Mat and Will had immediate success winning the first event they competed in. They remained virtually undefeated throughout 2013, 2014, and 2015, and continued their World Championship success in 2017 and 2019. Together, Mat and Will were awarded the title of Yachting Australia’s Male Sailors of the Year in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2019. 2021 saw the pair win gold at the Tokyo Olympics, following a silver medal win at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
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.
Since then, Mathew has achieved this goal twice, most recently winning Gold in the 470 class at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics alongside Will Ryan. This victory makes Mathew the most successful Olympic Sailor in Australian History and earned him the honour of bearing the Australian flag at the closing ceremony.
Mathew first 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 six consecutive world 470 sailing championships (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), with a further two wins in 2017 and 2019.
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.
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. Alongside teammate Mat Belcher, he won the World Championships in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019, also achieving an Olympic silver medal in 2016 followed by a gold medal win in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics..
Will has been a finalist in the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Sailor of the Year awards in both 2013, 2014 and 2019.