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Matt McGovern (right) and Ryan Seaton (left) on their 49er. Credit Pierick Jeannoutot


Two Time Sailing Olympian Matt McGovern announces retirement


Almost 25 years ago Matt McGovern got his first taste of international sailing being thrown in at the deep end with his older brother Russell to compete in the 420 World Championships in Plymouth. As a 9 year old he could hardly have imagined just how much the sport of sailing would consume his everyday life, giving him experience sailing in almost every class out there and taking him to all four corners of the globe to represent his country.


Matt’s enthusiasm and passion for the sport is second to none and he set a new bar in professionalism around how to run a campaign. One of the allures of high performance sport are the rare highs that usually follow the disappointment of not achieving set goals. Agonisingly close to qualification for the 2008 Olympics, the pain of missing out spurred Matt on further. He teamed up with young Irish Sailing Academy hotshot, Ryan Seaton. The pair went on to be Ireland’s most successful skiff duo. Matt can look back on a long and rewarding career which included World Cup medals, European regatta wins and Olympic race wins in London 2012 as well as making the Olympic medal race final in Rio 2016.


However, just listing the results would mislead on the true core of the person. Matt can count friends all over the world and has been an excellent role model to the next generation of performance sailors. It is a legacy that he will no doubt build on as he moves into the next stage of his career. 


James O’Callaghan Irish Sailing’s Performance Director adds: “From day one Matt was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. Eighteen years on NO change. His approach, results and outlook are an excellent guide to the next generation".


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