'I knew he’d do it!' say proud family of Harborough's sailing star Dylan Fletcher after his amazing Olympic gold victory
They were shouting and cheering at the TV early this morning as they watched the historic moment
The ecstatic mum of hero Market Harborough sailor Dylan Fletcher said today after he dramatically struck gold at the Olympics – I knew he’d do it!
Deliriously happy Jane Fletcher, 62, said she was screaming at the TV at 5.30am today with her husband Graham, 69, as Dylan, 33, grabbed a sensational gold in Tokyo with his team-mate Stuart Bithell, 34.
Brilliant Dylan and Stuart pipped their German rivals by a whisker on the line to snatch the gold medal in one of the most heart-stopping Olympic regatta races ever.
But proud mum Jane told the Harborough Mail this afternoon: “It was so agonisingly close – but we knew that Dylan would do it!
“My emotions were all over the place, we were shouting at the telly, we hadn’t slept a wink all night we were that excited.
“But we just knew that Dylan was going to do it, we knew that he’d win at the end there.
“It was so nail-biting, it was so tactical, it was overwhelming,” said Jane, of Desborough.
“But we’ve seen him win tight races like this before right on the line – and we’re just over the moon.”
Asked what winning gold in the tough 49ers meant, she replied: “This is the culmination of a driving, powerful ambition that Dylan’s had since he was just 13 years old.
“He told us when he was 13 that he was going to go to the Olympics and that he was going to win gold.
“We nodded and smiled and said he would – and now he’s done just that,” said Jane.
“He’s kept his eye on that gold medal all these years of hard racing.
“And now he’s won the biggest race in the world with his fantastic crewmate Stuart.
“It’s just so surreal – we still can’t believe it.
“We are hoping that Dylan will fly home on Thursday this week and we can’t wait to see him.
“We’ve managed to speak to him briefly this morning and it was amazing,” said Jane, who’s also got two stepchildren Toby and Lucy.
“Dylan was just absolutely buzzing.
“He kept telling us that he couldn’t take it in, he couldn’t believe they’d won.
“And he asked us if we’d watched him win – we told him that of course we had, we’d cheered him every inch of the way!”
She said striking gold on the world’s biggest stage as millions of sports fans tuned in to watch all over the globe has ignited the most sensational month of Dylan’s life.
The supreme warrior on the water is now preparing to wed sweetheart and fellow top sailor Charlotte Dobson, 35, who’s just finished sixth in the 49ers for Team GB in the Games in Tokyo.
“They’re getting married in Portland in Dorset where they live on Thursday August 26.
“So it’s a real whirlwind month for Dylan and for all of us – and we’re going to have a huge celebration there,” promised Jane.
“Dylan marrying Charlotte, a lovely girl, really will be the icing on the cake.
“His racing partner Stuart will be there along with a lot of other sailors.
“So we’ll be enjoying a glass or two of champagne today.
“But we’re all really looking forward to Dylan’s wedding at the end of the month.
“It’s going to be such a busy but fantastic time for the whole family,” said Jane, who attended the country’s iconic Royal Ballet School along with her husband Graham.
“Dylan’s gold medal today has been 20 years in the making.
“We moved to Market Harborough from Surrey just before his 11th birthday.
“We started taking Dylan to Northampton Sailing Club at Pitsford Reservoir up the road so that he could make new friends.
“He’d been into roller hockey and go karting – he wanted to become a racing driver – but he quickly took to sailing like a duck to water.
“Brilliant coach Chris Wright from Ashley got Dylan into racing – and he’s never looked back,” said Jane who teaches Pilates in Market Harborough while Graham runs his own dance school in the town.
“We’ve clocked up thousands of miles taking Dylan to races all over the country, all over Europe and then over to America.
“He went to Robert Smyth school in Market Harborough and his teachers there were so supportive – as we had to take quite a few authorised absences to go racing!
“They told Dylan simply to follow his dream – and he’s certainly done that.
“We went with Dylan to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
“He finished sixth and he vowed to us then – ‘nothing will stand between me and the gold’ at the Tokyo Games,” said Jane.
“Dylan is fearless, he’s got a ferocious will to win and he’s just incredibly determined and dedicated.
“He won’t let anything stop him or get in his way – and he’s had to make enormous sacrifices.
“Dylan raced professionally in 2019-20 to earn some money.
“He must have poured hundreds of thousands of pounds into racing over the years, it’s just so expensive, as well as his heart and soul.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer number of goodwill messages, congratulations and best wishes we’ve had all week as Dylan’s gone for gold.
“People I’ve not seen for 20-30 years have got in touch to get behind us, it’s been astonishing.
“I’ve absolutely no idea what Dylan will do next.
“But one thing’s for sure – the world is his oyster and the sky’s the limit.
“This is so good for Robert Smyth and the whole of Market Harborough after such a tough time over the last year or so as well as for Dylan and all of us.
“We are just so proud of him – winning gold in such a heart-stopping race is an incredible way to top off an incredible journey,” said Jane.