Desborough mum's pride as sailing star Dylan takes Olympic gold

He lived in the area as a youth

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 11:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 11:24 am
Dylan (left) won Olympic gold this morning. Inset, Dylan's family

At 5.30am this morning most of us were asleep - but Desborough couple Jane and Graham Fletcher were jumping up and down uncontrollably, shouting at their TV.

That's because their son, sailing star Dylan Fletcher, took gold in one of the most dramatic Olympic races of all-time.

The 33-year-old, who used to live in the town, snatched the Tokyo 2020 men's 49er title with Stuart Bithell by just centimetres after holding off their German rivals at the line.

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Dylan Fletcher (right) and Stuart Bithell celebrate winning gold in the Men's Skiff 49er class medal race in Tokyo. Picture by Phil Walter/Getty Images

And Jane, who lives on the town's Grange estate, said: "I still don't think it's sunk in."

Dylan and his parents lived in Market Harborough, with the Olympic champion attending Robert Smyth Academy, before a move just down the A6 about 15 years ago.

When he was selected to compete for Britain they couldn't fit his sailing boat on the drive and had to find somewhere they could keep the boat off the street - happening to find a house in Desborough.

Dylan now lives in Portland near Weymouth but still pops back to Desborough with fiancee and fellow sailing star Charlotte Dobson, with Jane and Graham currently looking after their Siamese cats.

L-R: Dylan Fletcher, Jane, Fletcher, Charlotte Dobson, Graham Fletcher.

And today's (Tuesday's) Olympic gold was the realisation of Dylan's dream, which started two decades ago as a teenager.

Pilates teacher Jane, 62, said: "We are incredibly proud but more so we are just thrilled and over the moon for them.

"This has been a long time coming - Dylan told me he wanted to win at the Olympics when he was 13 and now he has."

Today's dramatic events saw the lead continually changing hands in a drag race to the finish line.

Dylan Fletcher (left) and Stuart Bithell pose with their gold medals. Picture by Clive Mason/Getty Images

New Zealand's defending champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke were leading the regatta heading into the final double points race.

And a complex formula of results meant the British crew had to finish two places ahead of the six-time world champions to win, the Kiwis’ third place meaning they settled for silver overall.

Jane said: "Dylan told me this has been the most stressful week of his life but he looked quite calm.

"Me and my husband were jumping up and down shouting 'come on, come on!'"

Jane added that they will be popping a few bottles of English sparkling wine to celebrate when Dylan returns home from Tokyo.

And she said there would be a "humdinger of a celebration" later this month - with Dylan and his fiancee Charlotte getting married on August 26.

After winning gold Dylan said: “I dreamt this would happen.

“It was last week, a few days before racing. I was like, ‘don’t engage, don’t tell anyone that’, but it was amazing to feel that dream come true. The last race wasn’t quite that close in my dream.

“I think it’s been super close all week in racing and today showed off what it has been like. It was an intense race but it’s mind-blowing to be sat here now as Olympic champions.

“I thought we had it to be honest but I knew it was super touch and go.

“The other guys had right of way over us so we had to be careful to not get a penalty and time everything just right.

“But Stu did an incredible job of making the boat go fast and we just nicked it at the end.”