He had the silver medal on his mind.
With Ryan falling out of the boat, the chasing Greeks immediately overtook the Australian 470 pair and surged three seconds ahead on the final leg.
But quick as flash the Australians recovered, overtook the Greek pair and claimed the second spot on the podium.
“I just slipped and fell straight in. Obviously Mat (Belcher) pulled me back out of the water one-handed really quickly and got me back in the boat and back into it,” Ryan said.
It was one of two silver medals for Australia on the final day of sailing, where fellow Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen also came second in the 49er.
Belcher was happy to joke about the speed with which he came to the aid of his teammate afterwards.
“I was worried about the water quality,” he said of Guanabara Bay which came under fire in the lead-up to the Games because of its high levels of pollution.
Belcher now has two Games sailing medals after his 470 win in London.
“It’s disappointing we didn’t win. We came here to win. But to come away with silver is a great achievement,” Belcher said.
Croatia won gold in the 470, while New Zealand had already wrapped up gold in the 49er before the medal race.
Outteridge and Jensen, who also won gold in London, started the day in third but had the opportunity to overtake the second-placed Germans with a good race.
“We fought really hard the whole week with unfortunately too many errors to compete with the guys at the front,” Outteridge said.
“But to get a silver medal and to win it today was a very different feeling to London where it was just a victory lap.
“We had to actually work for it toady and earn it.”
The Australians built up an early lead over the German and British crews and held their nerve on a tricky Rio course.
After backing up their London golds with Rio silver, neither crew would commit to a Tokyo tilt.
“We’re really proud of the silver but Will and I, we’re competitors … (but) I don’t know whether that means that I want to keep going or not,” Belcher said.
The final results makes it one gold and three silver for Australia’s sailors, after Tom Burton won gold in the Laser and Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin won silver in the Nacra 17.
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