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Bond's Olympic countdown: Mat Belcher

July 19, 2021

Alumnus Mat Belcher has spent decades preparing for his moment at the Tokyo Olympics. PICTURE: Cavan Flynn 

Mat Belcher is the most successful Olympic-class helm sailor in Australian history and plans to add to that legacy at Tokyo.

It’s been quite the journey for the Gold Coast local who started studying at Bond University in 2001 and finished in 2018.

“I was stoked to finally have the degrees done. My time at Bond has been pretty substantial,” Belcher said.

“It has taken six years to finish my Masters of Valuation and Property Development and Masters of Project Management, and before that I did a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting which was 2001 to 2009.

“It wouldn’t have been possible to complete the degree without the flexibility of Bond.

“The lecturers have been great and I’ve built really good relationships with them.”

Belcher and teammate Will Ryan claimed silver in the 470 class at the 2016 Rio Olympics but are both driven to go one better at Tokyo.

“We had a really good run coming into Rio having won three World Championships and finished third in the other one,” Belcher said.

“That last six months before the Games we struggled to get any rhythm.

“We were super proud of the Olympic silver medal but we both came away knowing we had some stuff that we could have improved.

“Hopefully we can learn from some mistakes and improve at Tokyo.”

With a competitive career stretching back decades, Belcher said he was grateful to still have the drive to win at the highest level.

“Four years (of Olympic preparation) is a lot of time and training, a lot of risk and a lot of money as well,” he said.

“It’s a big commitment, not just from us, but our families too.”

Belcher has won nine world championships, an Olympic gold and silver medal and carried the Australian flag at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Mathew Belcher (Class of 2001)

Sailing: 470 class

Rounds: Wednesday, July 28 and Monday, August 2, Enoshima Yacht Harbour

Final: Wednesday, August 4