Tokyo, 1 August 2021 - The brilliant Croatian sailor Tonči Stipanović won a silver medal in Men’s Laser at the Olympic regatta in Enoshima, having thus defended his title of Olympic Vice-Champion from Rio de Janeiro 2016.
He entered today's final race for medals float as the third-placed and - after a great start - he was he the second. However, after turning the buoy in sailing down the wind he fell to fourth place, only to return to the company of the leaders again in the third section by sailing along the wind. At the end of the race, he was also at the top level, entering the finish line as fourth and - with a total of 82 negative points - he won second place in the final rankings, that is - the second Olympic silver in his career. The gold medal went to Australia's Matt Wearn (53 negative points) and bronze to Norway's Hermann Thomasgaard (with 85 negative points).
In his rich sports career, Stipanović won world silver and bronze, while at the London Olympics in 2012 he was the fourth.
- I had a great start. In orca (close-hauled surfing, author’s remark) I could not hit the right speed because there were also waves from sailboats and from the French but thank God that there’s stern. I stayed calm and focused and sailed the way I know and, well, it turned out to be silver. It couldn't have been better, finishing the Olympic regatta with silver is a really big deal – said Split native who promised – after silver medal in Rio - to fight for gold in Tokyo.
In his collection, Stipanović has world silver and bronze, while he finished fourth at the London Olympics 2012.
- Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024? It's going to be really hard; I'm growing older. I'll sit down and think about what to do next, I'm not sure yet, maybe I'll decide to get ready for Paris as well. We'll see - concluded the two-time Olympic Vice-Champion.
His coach Jozo Jakelić is also pleased with the outcome of the Olympic regatta in Enoshima:
- Today couldn't have been better than this silver, however, during the week there were things that could have been better. The Olympic Games are a four-year regatta, sailing is a specific sport and requires a lot of precision and analytics. Maybe there was a little too much wind in Enoshima than we expected. We practically lost two years of preparation and data due to the pandemic, everything was abnormal, so now I am very glad that he won silver in such conditions. I think we're going to move on in this story. We have the World Cup in Barcelona and the European Championships in Bulgaria at the end of the year, and that was kind of a plan. After all this and 24 days of Japan, we will first celebrate in Split, rest and decide what to do next...
This is the seventh medal won by Croatian female and male athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, the second silver, with three gold and two bronze medals. On Monday, brothers Šime and Mihovil Fantela will fight for medals in Men’s Skiff - 49er.
The President Zlatko Mateša and Secretary General Siniša Krajač of the Croatian Olympic Committee congratulated Tonči Stipanović and his expert staff, led by coach Jozo Jakelić, on winning the new Olympic silver:
Our dear Tonči,
We are delighted with your Olympic achievement at the Tokyo Olympics because you have proven once again that your sports path is – in short - "the quality that lasts". With a bold and determined performance, you defended the silver medal from Rio and remained the only Croatian sailor to win an individual Olympic medal under his own tricolor flag. On behalf of the entire Croatian Olympic Family and on our own, we warmly congratulate you on winning the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics! (NOC of Croatia)