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Olympic medallist Annalise: Well, at least I didn't come last

Published 23/08/2016

Annalise Murphy, who won a silver medal in the Women's Laser Radial Medal race at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, arrives at Dublin airport.
Annalise Murphy, who won a silver medal in the Women's Laser Radial Medal race at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, arrives at Dublin airport.

Humble Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy has revealed her highest hope going into the Games was not to finish last.

Returning to a hero's welcome in Dublin Airport and cheered on by family, friends and supporters, the sailor said her success still had not sunk in.

"I still haven't really been able to believe that I actually won a medal," she beamed.

The 26-year-old joins Katie Taylor, Sonia O'Sullivan and Michelle Smith de Bruin as the only Irish women ever to win an Olympic medal.

Ms Murphy narrowly missed out on a top three spot at the Olympic games in London four years ago.

Arriving back to her native Dublin with her parents Cathy and Con, she revealed she was convinced going to Rio that her best days in competitive sailing were behind her.

"I've always thought for the last four years that my best was in London and I was never going to be able to get close to a medal again," she said.

"In the sailing world a lot of people have told me that Rio wasn't going to suit me and I wasn't going to be able to perform well there, so it was hard to have to try and overcome that and be able to believe that I would be able to do it.

"We had a running joke. I was going: 'Well, I hope I just don't finish last.'

"Everyday I would come in from racing and go: 'Well, I guess today was good. I didn't finish last again.'"

An official homecoming is being organised for Murphy at the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire on Thursday.

Her success in Rio followed the silver medals on the water by Cork brothers Gary and Paul O'Donovan in the lightweight doubles sculls in rowing.

It is Ireland's first sailing medal since David Wilkins and James Wilkinson won a silver in the Flying Dutchman class in Moscow 1980.

It also helped erase some of the bad taste left by world champion boxer Michael Conlan's controversial defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

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