When he was 16, Tom Slingsby gave up a promising tennis career to devote himself full time to sailing. Up until that point he had raced with his father and his older sisters, but he had been committed to tennis.
“Tennis was my favorite sport, I used to train five or six days a week,” says Slingsby. “But I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I started training in the Laser and after three months of doing that I finished first at the (Australian) Nationals. I’d finished 61st the year before.”
It’s safe to say his career has skyrocketed in the past 12 years. In 2010 Slingsby was voted the International Sailing Federation’s Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award and he’s won six world championships.
In the Laser class, the Aussie had a nearly unbeatable six-year stretch, winning the world championship five times and rising hold the No. 1 ranking in the class. His only slip-up came on the biggest stage, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, when he entered as the favorite to win the gold medal but slipped to 22nd in the final standings.
Slingsby set out on his 2012 Olympic campaign with a new focus, and all of the hard work paid off. He won gold in the Laser class at the 2012 Games in London. His medal was Australia’s first individual gold medal in London in the 2012 Olympic Games.
“Who would be feeling better in the world right now? No one,” said Slingsby. “I’ve worked for 12 years to get there. I put everything I had into it and I’ve done it. I couldn’t be happier.”
On the racecourse Slingsby is well regarded for his ability to read the wind. He joined ORACLE TEAM USA in October 2011 as a tactician.
“I’ve got a small background in catamarans, did the 2009 A Class Worlds,” says Slingsby. “But I try to sail any type of boat I can get on and the AC45 is really good. It’s challenging in every aspect: physicality, technical, mental… it’s a whole new world for me.”
- America’s Cup World Series Naples Match Race Champion (as Skipper)
- America’s Cup World Series Naples Overall Champion (as Skipper)
Gold medal 2012 Olympic Games – Laser
- Five-time World Champion – Laser (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- 2012 Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Co-Athlete of the Year
- Joins ORACLE TEAM USA (October)
- America’s Cup World Series San Diego Match Racing Championship, 6th place
- America’s Cup World Series San Diego Fleet Racing Championship, 9th place
- Australian Male Yachtsman of Year
- ISAF Sailing World Cup Series Perth, Laser, winner
- ISAF Sailing World Cup Series Weymouth, Laser, winner
- Devoti ONE World Champion
- ISAF Male World Sailor of Year
- Laser World Champion (previously 2007, ’08)
- Farr 40 Worlds – Transfusion, 2nd
- Etchells World Champion (with skipper John Bertrand, AUS)