Bondy Mat Belcher is no stranger to the Olympics, having won Gold in London 2012, and he and his crew mate Will Ryan are hoping to once again make it to the podium in Rio for the Sailing 470 Class event.
The dynamic duo have been training hard over the past month, in northern Germany and on the Olympic waters, and after a brief rest with family and friends, they set sail from Europe for Rio for the tenth and last time this week.
“Rio is a very complicated venue, challenging environment, and not to mention the most diverse race conditions you can train for, but we are looking forward to the challenges and feel ready to take it on,” Mat said.
“When Will and I embarked on our first training camp after London 2012, Rio seemed so far away. However, looking back on what we have achieved together we couldn’t be prouder.
“It has been a long campaign since London 2012, but a campaign that we are very proud of.
“As a new team we came together matched with the same determination, hunger and commitment to Olympic success that has driven us to perfection over the past years.
“However, as Malcolm Page once said, ‘you would trade every World or European title you have ever won for an Olympic gold’.
“We are looking forward to the challenge and hope to do Australia proud. As we have developed as a team, so have our competitors. It will be a tough competition but we are going into the games knowing that we couldn’t have done any more.
“It’s now time to strap on the Green and Gold and take on the world.”
Since the age of 12, it had been Mat’s dream to go to the Olympics.
“Winning gold in my first attempt in London in 2012 was pretty amazing,” he said.
Following his Olympics triumph, Mat made history by winning his fourth World 470 Crown (sailing) in 2013 in the waters off La Rochelle, France and he and his team mate Will Ryan were named Australian Sailors of the Year.
In this same year Mat was named Rolex World Sailor of the Year - only the second Australian in history to win this prestigious title - and he was crowned Bond University’s 2013 Sportsman of the Year at our annual Blues Awards. A year later Mat was named 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion.
Mat completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Bond in 2009 and commenced his Master of Urban Development and Sustainability immediately following the 2012 Olympics.
As a member of the Bond Elite Sport Program (BESP), Mat is another example of an elite athlete who is able to achieve both academically and on the world sporting stage whilst studying here at Bond.
“I’m very thankful to Bond for giving me the time and understanding to pursue my goals in sailing, while at the same time completing my Master’s,” Mat said.
“It’s not easy, but if you want to follow your dreams in sport, and balance it with your studies – Bond University is definitely the place to be.”
Bond University’s Executive Director of Sport, Garry Nucifora said Mat was a brilliant role model for young elite athletes looking to study and compete internationally.
"Mat is an exceptional example of achieving at the highest level, both academically and on the world sporting stage, and Bond University is proud to be a part of his journey,” Garry said.