Shirley Ann Robertson OBE made it in the history books by becoming the first British woman to win two Olympic Gold Medals at consecutive games, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
Born July 15, 1968 in Dundee, Shirley started sailing at the age of 7 in a Mirror Miracle dinghy which her father built from a kit in the garage of their home in Clackmannanshire, Scotland and they sailed on Loch Ard in the Trossachs. A determined child with the ability to focus and believe that you can achieve anything with hard work and by listening to those around you paid off, she quickly got the bug and her quest for an Olympic gold medal started after she graduated from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in 1990.
By the late 1990s she had won silver medals at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Europe Class World Championships and competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games and 1996 Atlanta Games. In 2000 Shirley proved beyond doubt that she had mastered her class by winning gold at the Millennium Olympic Games in Sydney.
In 2000 Shirley was voted ISAF World Female Sailor of the Year, she was awarded an MBE for her services to British Sailing and in 2001 Shirley married Jamie Boag.
Following her success in 2000, Shirley turned her attentions to a new challenge. In 2001 she switched to the new Yngling class and her team finished 14th at the World Championships. Over the next two years they improved rapidly, finishing third at the 2002 Olympic Test Event and winning the 2003 Pre-Olympic regatta. This new direction was rewarded with Shirley’s historical second Gold Medal at the Athens 2004 Olympic.
In 2005, Shirley took a year off Olympic sailing to focus on big boat sailing, a budding TV career, and as an athlete delegate to the successful London 2012 bid, Shirley was also awarded an OBE in this year.
In January 2006 Shirley became the regular presenter for CNN ‘Mainsail’ and later in the same year Shirley and husband Jamie Boag took on a new challenge welcoming their twins Annabelle and Killian into the world.
However, Shirley has never been one to rest on her laurels and returned to the Olympic trail, for Beijing and the quest for another gold in 2008, with new crew mates, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor. Unfortunately, the team narrowly missed out on gold at the World Championships in Caiscais and in September 2007 the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) made the difficult decision to select Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson as the British Olympic choice for the Ynging class in Beijing 2008.
2008 and a new challenge, Shirley was the only female skipper competing in 5 race series of the iShares Cup at the helm of J.P.Morgan Asset Management Extreme 40, she successfully won the first event on the circuit in Lugano (Switzerland).
Although Shirley was not competing on the water in Beijing, she still had ringside seats to all the action as she took up a new role as a BBC Olympic sailing commentator. Her role with the Olympics continues through her involvement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Sport Advisory Group.
Shirley was back at the helm of an Extreme 40 for the iShares Cup 2009 circuit, this time as skipper of Team iShares for a 6 race series. She then immediately took over the helm of Rumbo Almeria Extreme 40 for the Extreme Sailing Series Asia 2009 /10.
During 2012 Shirley retained her role with LOCOG’s Sport Advisory Group throughout the London 2012 games and was once again back in her ringside seat as the BBC Olympic sailing commentator in Weymouth. She also became the only woman to take the helm on the super yacht circuit steering the stunning 45-metre Dubois designed Salperton in three regattas in the Caribbean and Sardina, Shirley will continue this role with the team during the 2013 season.
Shirley continues to present and produce CNN’s monthly sailing TV programme ‘Mainsail’ and along with speaking engagements and charity work remains an inspiration as an Olympian, TV Presenter, business woman and mother.
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