Olympic silvers: Weymouth and Portland is like 'paradise' says medal winner, Luke Patience

Dorset Echo: FLYING THE FLAG: Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell celebrate winning their silver medal in front of crowds beneath the Nothe FLYING THE FLAG: Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell celebrate winning their silver medal in front of crowds beneath the Nothe

A EUPHORIC Luke Patience declared Weymouth and Portland to be ‘paradise’ as he and teammate Stuart Bithell brought home Olympic silver.

The 26-year-old did a somersault from his 470 dinghy after crossing the finishing line with his best friend and crew Stuart Bithell.

With just four points separating the top teams of Britain and Australia, who were both secured of at least silver, Team Patience Bithell needed to finish two places ahead of their rivals Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page to win Olympic gold.

In light winds, the Nothe race course turned into a lottery of lucky wind-shifts and a battle of wills as the two top men’s boats sailed away from the rest of the medal race contenders Helm Patience, 26, said the ‘jets’ that the Brits and the Aussies had had all week, went against them in the final race when despite their efforts to slow the race down so their international rivals could catch up and ‘mess’ the results up, the Australians got away.

Crew Bithell, 25, said: “We tried it. We got the better of them at the start and managed to sneak ahead but we were kind of hoping the fleet would be there to hold them up.

“They sailed a fantastic race, we tried to attack them when we could but they held their nerve and they’re worthy champions.”

Immediately after the race finish Scottish-born Patience, who now lives at Weston, Portland, said: “It is just so good, it’s been three or four years hard work together, 15 years in our dreams and here we are standing on the Olympic podium.

“It’s not gold but there’s plenty of time, we’ll be coming back, we mean business.

“For now we’ll enjoy the moment, Stu’s an absolute legend.“We’re happy happy boys, it’s been the regatta of our lives and what a place, we’re in paradise aren’t we?

Bithell, 25, added: “It’s been great, very incredible, everyone’s had a good time.

“At times it was aggressive on the water but it’s just sport, off the water we’re buddies.”

There was a touching moment on the Nothe spectator site when the three fathers of Patience, Bithell and Page hugged and celebrated each other’s sons success.

Page, defending 470 Men’s champion from Beijing 2008, retained the title he had achieved with Nathan Wilmot, with new helm Belcher.

It marked a ‘golden finish’ for Page, who announced that he was retiring from the Olympics .

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