Sailor Stuart on crest of wave after New Year ‘gong’

OLYMPIC gold medal sailor Stuart Bithell is feeling swell after receiving a sporting ‘gong’ in the New Year’s Honours List.

And Bithell’s MBE ensured double celebration for Crompton House School after cyclist Matt Walls collected the same accolade for his own success at Tokyo 2020.

In fact, the pair’s achievements last summer meant Crompton House would have finished joint 38th with Ecuador on the official medal table.

Dylan Fletcher (left) and Stuart Bithell (right)
© Sailing Energy / World Sailing

That was one place above Ireland, six in front of Ukraine and only two rungs down the ladder from Greece-birthplace of the modern Games.

The school commented at the time: “Crompton House is proud to have two alumni students achieving excellence and hope our current students are inspired by them to achieve their own sporting goals.”

Stuart Bithell on the podium
© Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Bithell, at 35, is the older of the two Crompton House old boys by 12 years. He left the Rochdale Road school in 2002.

Born in Rochdale, he learned to sail on Hollingworth Lake at the age of seven. He is now based in Portland, Dorset.

And his thrilling golden triumph with Dylan Fletcher in the men’s 49er class came nine years after taking silver at London 2012 in the 470 class. Their victory was achieved by the

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell in action. Photo by Lloyd Images/RYA

But Bithell won’t be defending his title at Paris 2024 after confirming he was retiring from Olympic competition earlier this month. (December)

Team GB secured top spot on the sailing medal table in Japan for the fifth time in six Games with three golds, a silver and a bronze.

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