Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2016 : Santiago Lange and Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark
Wednesday 9 November 2016 –
Male Winner: SANTIAGO LANGE, ARGENTINA
Santiago Lange provided Rio 2016 with the fairy tale storyline of the Olympic Games as he won gold with Cecilia Carranza Saroli in the Nacra 17. At 54-years-old, six-time Olympian and two-time bronze medal winner, Lange was the oldest sailor competing, but his story goes beyond his age. Just one year prior to the Games Lange was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a lung removed. Making the start line of the competition was an achievement in itself for the resilient Argentinean. Lange showed what is possible when passion is backed by courage and determination.
“This is a very emotional moment in a very long sailing career. It is a win for ‘us’ because I could not have done it without Ceciia. I want to thank all the other nominees, they are athletes I really admire. Only the very best win gold medals at the Games, and I have a lot of respect for all the other nominees.“
As reward for his achievement, Lange was recipient of a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 and a marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents.
Female Winners: HANNAH MILLS & SASKIA CLARK, GREAT BRITAIN
Spurred on by missing out on London 2012 gold in the 470 Class, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark set about the Rio Games in determined fashion. They were near flawless in their build up. Gold at the 2015 Sailing World Cup Final, silver at the 2015 World Championships and two 2016 World Cup golds proved Mills and Clark were a force to be reckoned with. Once at Rio the British pair kept their focus on the task ahead. Only a disaster in the Medal Race could separate them from gold. That was never going to happen. Clark and Mills finished what they had started and wiped clean the disappointment of London.
Saskia Clark commented afterwards: “It is totally overwhelming to win this award, to see the names of previous winners, the legends of sailing in the room with us. We really weren’t expecting this.” Hannah Mills was equally elated: “The whole basis of our campaign was teamwork, our bond. To cap our year with winning this award is absolutely incredible."
Marking their triumph, Mills and Clark both received engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 35s and the same marble and silver trophy as Lange.