Shirley Robertson sailed her way into the history books by becoming the first British woman to win two gold medals at consecutive Olympic Games.

Born in Dundee in 1968, Shirley began sailing at the age of seven in a dinghy built by her father in the garage of their home in Clackmannanshire. A determined child with the ability to focus, she quickly got the bug and practised for hours on Loch Ard in the Trossachs.

Her quest for Olympic gold started in earnest after she graduated from Heriot-Watt University, collecting silver at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Europe Class World Championships. She also competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and 1996 Games in Atlanta.

When the Olympics came around in 2000, Shirley proved that she’d mastered the Europe class by winning gold in Sydney. She was duly named ISAF World Female Sailor of the Year and awarded the MBE.

Shirley then turned her attention to a new challenge, switching to the new Yngling class in 2001. Over the next two years, her team improved rapidly, winning the 2003 pre-Olympic regatta. This new direction was rewarded with a historic second gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and she was awarded the MBE the following year.

Shirley also experienced success with a new challenge in the iShares Cup in 2008. As the only female skipper competing in the five-race series, she successfully won the first event on the circuit in Lugano, Switzerland. She returned to the iShares Cup in 2009, followed by the Extreme Sailing Series in Asia.  

Still a keen sailor, she now works as a TV presenter, as well as carrying out speaking engagements and charity work.

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