Event: 470 - Men
Olympic History: Rio 2016 (silver), Tokyo 2020 (gold)
Coach: Victor Kovalenko
Institute/Academy: Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) & Queensland Academy of Sport QAS)
Clubs: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, NSW; and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, QLD
Year Born: 1988
State Born: NSW
Will Ryan’s connection with sailing started at just two days old when his family took him to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart race in his grandfather’s boat, but it was at 11 that Ryan began his own sailing journey.
Inspired by his grandfather, Ryan began sailing in an old wooden Sabot on Lake Macquarie in NSW.
Ryan competed in his first race with the Toronto Amateur Sailing Club and in his last year of schooling, he fully committed himself to the sport, competing in the Laser Radial class at the 2006 Youth World Sailing Championships.
His interest in sailing was wide, with the teenager also racing Yachts and 18-foot Skiffs and competing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race where he was the youngest competitor of the event.
Ryan came to realise that they don’t race 18 footers at the Olympic Games and a chance meeting with ‘Medal Maker Coach’ Victor Kovalenko put him on the pathway towards the Olympics. From 2009 Ryan shifted his focus to sailing's 470 class, with the Olympic Games his goal.
In 2012, Ryan was teamed up with one half of the London 2012 Olympic 470 class gold medal-winning team, Mat Belcher. They found immediate success winning the 2013 World Championship and at Rio 2016 Ryan made his Olympic debut. The partnership proved a continuing success, with the duo winning the silver medal.
But Ryan wasn’t the only 470 class Olympian of his family, with his sister Jaime also competing at Rio 2016, finishing 15th overall.
At Tokyo 2020, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan confirmed their place in the history books after clinching gold in a poignant, emotion-fuelled race in the men's 470 at Enoshima.
The five-time world champions entered the medal race with an almost unbeatable 20-point lead, and only needed to avoid any false start penalties to be crowned Olympic Champions. But after taking no risks at the start line, the champions worked through the field and won the medal race in commanding fashion.
Will Ryan's Olympic Moments
Secondary: St Ignatius College, Riverview, NSW
Tertiary: Commerce at Sydney University
Coach: Victor Kovalenko
Clubs: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron
Institute/Academy: Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) & Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS)