It had to come off.
Burton pipped Croatian Tonci Stipanovic in the medal race to secure Australia’s first gold medal in sailing at the Rio Games.
Cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin also won silver in the Nacra 17.
Stipanovic was 10 points ahead of Burton in first and promised to push the Australian to the back of the fleet from the start of the double points race.
But Burton swung inside the Croatian on the start line to force Stipanovic to take a penalty turn while the Australian pushed on to claim gold.
“We had a lot of talks the last two days about a bit of a catch-and-release,” Burton said.
“It couldn’t have come off any better, it was perfection nearly.”
While Stipanovic was stuck back in ninth, Burton counted off the boats one by one as he moved up the fleet.
Burton finished third to claim gold, Stipanovic won silver, and New Zealand’s Sam Meech got bronze.
“I was even talking to my coach before the race thinking, `If we did this 10 times how many times would I be able to pull it off’, and he said `Nah, 25 per cent’,” Burton told the Seven Network.
“And I said `I think one out of 10′. And all you need is the one, and that’s exactly what I put out today.”
Stipanovic said a jury decision caught him out.
“The jury boat passed too close to us with a bit of speed, he made waves, the waves pushed me on to Tom, we touched, and then jury decide to give me a penalty,” he said.
Stipanovic, who claimed Croatia’s first ever sailing medal, said Burton deserved the gold for the way he sailed all regatta.
Waterhouse and Darmanin were leading going into the final preliminary race, but a “shocker” put them back into fourth before the medal race.
“It’s a little bit bittersweet, not going to lie, we wanted that gold, but we sailed an incredible medal race, I don’t think we could have done much more out there,” Darmanin said.
“That’s probably the best medal race I’ve sailed in the last four years, we gave ourselves every opportunity,” Waterhouse said.
Men’s 470 sailors Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have secured another sailing medal, as they can’t be caught in third going into Wednesday’s medal race.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen will also hope to secure a silver or a bronze in the 49er on Thursday, after New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke wrapped up gold.
Jake Lilley finished eighth overall in the Finn, while Ashley Stoddart finished ninth overall in the Laser Radial.
Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan missed out on the women’s 470 medal race after finishing 13th overall.
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