Olympic Stories

Saskia Clark - Sailing

Saskia Clark - Sailing

Born August 23, 1979 in Colchester, Essex, England, Saskia Clark is a professional sailor in the women’s 470 Class. Clark is currently preparing to race in the 2012 London Olympics with teammate Hannah Mills. And while the duo isn’t favored to win over other impressive teams in the field, Saskia’s commitment to sailing and her undeniable talent might just be the push the Britons need to claim Olympic Gold this summer.

Saskia got her start by traversing the creeks near Weymouth, the town she grew up in. Known as simply “Sas” by friends and family, Clark’s first boat was a Bumblebee Oppy, painted bright yellow with black stripes. Since her early days on the water, Sas has been one of the best women’s sailors around, and she is looking forward to proving it in 2012.

Sporting Career

Unlike many other British Olympians set to compete in London this summer, Saskia Clark doesn’t have a resume that would wow most people. Although she has been a pro sailor for quite some time, disappointing finishes have kept Clark out of the limelight. Underperforming on big stages, falling out with teammates, and unique and unexpected weather conditions are all reasons that Clark, one of the best sailors in the world, is not heralded as such.

The sporting world really started to take notice of Sas when she competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 470 with teammate Christina Bassadone. This was Clark’s first appearance in the Olympics, and outside of the UK, few knew who she was or what she was capable of. But after the two worked so hard and showed such grace under fire, even with a disappointing finish, it was clear that Clark’s star was on the rise. Immediately after the Games, Bassadone retired and Sas was in the market for a new partner.

Post-Olympics, Clark began to train with a variety of different helms, including Pippa Wilson, Sarah Ayton, and Penny Clark – all of whom are terrific sailors in their own right. But training and finding the right mate are two different things. It wasn’t until Sas met an up-and-coming talent, Hannah Mills, that she knew she had struck gold.

Since February 2011, Mills and Clark have been training and competing in preparation for London 2012. In shocking fashion, their success was almost instantaneous. While few expected big things out of Clark and Mills, the women shocked the entire sailing world by winning silver at Hyeres in April of 2011 – only the team’s second regatta together. And to prove that it wasn’t a fluke, Sas and Hannah took silver again at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in June.

Keeping the streak alive, they took another 2nd place silver, this time at the Olympic Test Event at Weymouth and Portland. All signs are good that Clark will be competing for a Gold medal this year, and the team is certainly hot enough to do it.

Career Highlights

  • 2011 ISAF Worlds – Silver
  • 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold – Silver
  • 2011 Olympic Test Event; Weymouth and Portland – Silver
  • 2012 World Championships – 1st
  • 2012 Summer Olympics – Silver

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