Matt Wearn | Australian Olympic Committee

Matt's Story

Fast Facts

Sport: Sailing
Event: Laser
Olympic History: Debut
Coach: Michael Blackburn
Institute/Academy: Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) & Western Australia Institute of Sport (WAIS)
Clubs: Royal Perth Yacht Club, WA; Freemantle Sailing Club, WA & Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA
Year Born: 1995 (23)
State Born: WA

About Matt

In his mid-teens, Perth sailor Matt Wearn faced a predicament. Drafted into the West Perth AFL Development Squad, he was on the classic pathway to playing top level Aussie Rules.

The youngest of three children, Wearn was raised in a sailing family, a sport he was introduced to at age four, but as his talent in both sports grew, it became apparent that playing both top-tier AFL and pursuing an elite sailing career wasn’t possible.

The naturally gifted sportsman had a choice to make.

“Having to choose between a promising career in two sports is a blessing but it’s also challenging, especially when you’re in your mid-teens, which is about the age these sorts of dilemmas tend to come up,” said Wearn.

But now, a world champion and about to make his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Wearn is confident he made the right choice calling it “A decision I’ve never regretted.”

Wearn’s sailing journey started as a toddler, when he would spend time with his family at the Royal Perth Yacht Club. Wanting to follow in the footsteps of his older sister Kate, Wearn asked his parents if he could do a sailing course.

A few years later, the young sailor started out in the Optimist class boat, sailed for a while in the 420 boat and then found his niche in the Laser class.

In 2010 Wearn competed at his first major competition, the Laser Radial Youth World Championships, placing 14th and in less than two years he was on the podium at the senior Laser Radial World Championships in Brisbane and considered his performance first year out of school as his career turning point.

“It was when I cracked the top-10 at the Worlds in Oman in 2013 that I realized that I might be able to compete for the World Championship crown,” Wearn said.

As he progressed from junior to senior, Wearn graduated to the Olympic class Laser Standard sailboat and his growing skill didn’t go unnoticed. Wearn began working with a leading Australian sailing coach and Sydney 2000 bronze medallist, Michael Blackburn, who would also guide Tom Burton to gold at Rio 2016.

But it was not plain sailing for Wearn, who missed national team selection in 2014.

“That mentally set me back a lot,” he said of missing out.

“I had to regroup and come with a new approach, but it helped my sailing in the long run.”

Back in the national team, Wearn was making progress and claimed his first Laser class world championship medal in 2017, winning bronze behind Australia’s Olympic champion Tom Burton.

The following year he upped the ante winning silver and was later named the Sailing Australia Male Sailor of The Year.

Wearn has enjoyed a momentous 2019 collecting the Laser European Championship title and silver at the world championships.

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Matt Wearn's Sailing Moments

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Career Highlights

Silver at the 2018 World Championships 
2018 Australian Male Sailor Of The Year

Education

Secondary: Woodvale Secondary College

Training

Coach: Michael Blackburn
Clubs: Royal Perth Yacht Club, WA; Freemantle Sailing Club, WA & Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, WA
Institute/Academy: Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) & Western Australia Institute of Sport (WAIS)