Sailors Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse will defend their Rio 2016 podium at Tokyo 2020 after being selected to the Australian Olympic Team today.
The Rio silver medallists and cousins return to the Olympic arena for their second Games in the mixed-crew Nacra class.
The pair have consistently been among the world’s best, backing up a stunning 2018/19 season which included a run of four international victories in five events with back-to-back bronze medals at the 2019 and 2020 Nacra 17 World Championships this summer.
Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman congratulated the pair on making their second Olympic Team.
“Jason and Lisa have shown they are among the very best sailors in the world and it’s fantastic to see them on the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said.
“With podiums at the Olympic and World Championship level, they have demonstrated excellence on the big stages of sport and I know they have high aspirations in Tokyo to build on their Olympic record.
“Making the Australian Olympic Team is a great achievement for Lisa and Jason personally, and a great reflection on their coaches, supporters, families and Australian Sailing.”
After a gruelling summer of sailing including two World Championships, the pair are determined to make the most of their Olympic opportunity.
“I’m excited but also relieved we get the opportunity to fight for a gold medal,” 28-year-old Darmanin said. “We’ve been working really hard and we know we have the ability, and now we get the chance to get in there and fight for it.
“Coming home with silver at our first Olympics was a pretty good feat, but we were very inexperienced about how to approach it. It’s such a long event at the Games, competing over a week, now we actually have the perspective and experience to perform even better in Tokyo.”
Waterhouse, who has balanced Nacra sailing with competing in the SailGP, believes the connection forged over a decade of competing with Darmanin gives the pair a winning edge.
“It’s really special to be able to represent Australia again, it’s a very humbling experience,” Waterhouse said. “We’re very proud of the performances we’ve put in the last three years and we’ve always wanted to go one better since Rio, and now we get that opportunity.
“Lisa and I have been sailing together for 12 years now – when the pressure’s on that experience and connection really comes to the fore. I can tell when Lisa’s stressed, she knows when I’m stressed and how we can help offload that pressure both on and off the water and it’s an advantage we have that other teams might not.”
Darmanin also paid tribute to her Australian Sailing teammates and sailors who set such a high benchmark to follow.
“We’ve got an amazing Australian Sailing Team and everyone is starting to peak at the end of the quad in the leadup to Tokyo,” Darmanin said.
“We have such a strong history in Sailing at the last three Olympics so for us to carry that legacy along and inspire the next generation side by side with some of our best friends is really cool.”
The Australian Sailing Team’s Performance Director, Iain Murray AM, lauded the pair’s impressive performances.
“We are pleased to be able to nominate Jason and Lisa to represent Australia in Tokyo,” said Murray.
“They have put together an incredibly strong campaign, and we know that their experience and track record of success puts them in a great position leading into the Games.”
Today’s selection sees Darmanin and Waterhouse join seven other sailors already selected to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo. Sailors in other eligible classes are expected to be nominated for selection in the coming months.