Being a natural sportsman, its no accident that Queenslander Mat Belcher is where he is today – campaigning for the 2012 London Olympics. However, Mat’s first foray into sailing gave no indication of the talent to come- at seven, his parents towed him in a Sabot behind a cruiser. “I didn’t want to go, I screamed and carried on, “the 29 year old laughs.
But his competitive instincts soon became evident. At 10, Mat was arguably the youngest Australian to achieve a Black Belt in Taekonwondo. He later played ice-hockey, baseball and State-level hockey. A golfer too, his handicap of nine suffered when sailing took over.
Early on, Mat skippered for older brother Daniel, winning the 420 World Championships in 2000. With the World title came the honour of carrying the Olympic Flag at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Games.
“Thats when I first seriously though about an Olympic campaign. It was great carrying that flag; it made the Olympics a reality for me.”
During 2007, Mathew and his former crew Nick Behrens obtained a world ranking of number 1 but were later piped to the post by Australian Sailing Team mates, Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page, for the 2008 Olympic birth. The triple world champions then successful brought home Olympic Gold in Beijing.
Far from being disappointed, watching his training partners win gold only further ignited Mathew’s passion to pursue Olympic glory.
Putting former rivalries aside, the Bond university commerce student and Beijing Gold medallist Malcolm have joined forces. Mathew and Malcolm have decided to unite to re-right Australian sailing history in achieving back to back Olympic gold medals for Australia.