Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen
I inform the House of the silver lining that emerged over Lake Macquarie from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Last Friday morning people from around my electorate cheered home three local champions who won three silver medals in Olympic sailing events. Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen raced near-perfect final races in the 49er class to win silver. This follows the gold medals these childhood mates won at the London Olympics. In their small hometown of Wangi Wangi, hundreds gathered at 2.00 a.m. to watch the races live, such is the spirit of this local community and the respect and love held for these two favourite sons. For Nathan, the result is even more extraordinary as in 2005 he spent weeks in hospital with a broken back from a car accident and with doctors fearing that he would never walk again.
The community of Coal Point was also celebrating after Will Ryan sailed across the line to claim silver in the 470 Class. Will, sailing with Matt Belcher, fought off a challenge from Greece and a slip into the water in the final race to claim the silver. These outstanding achievements come through hard work, commitment, sacrifice and unwavering support from those around them. Nathan, Iain and Will are a credit to themselves, their families and their communities, and we salute them.