Sailing star Mills treading carefully with Olympic medal placement

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Mills, 34, grabbed Olympic gold alongside Eilidh McIntyre in Tokyo
Mills, 34, grabbed Olympic gold alongside Eilidh McIntyre in Tokyo

By Milly McEvoy

Hannah Mills is having to carefully consider where to display her three Olympic medals – to avoid a repeat of sailing partner Eilidh McIntyre’s childhood.

McIntyre grew up with her father Michael’s sailing gold medal outside her bedroom door, a sight that set her on a determined path to claim her own along with Cardiff star Mills at Tokyo 2020.

Two-time Olympic champion Mills, 34, is expecting her first baby in October with partner and windsurfer Nick Dempsey, and the pair are already planning trips out with their child on the water.

“Both my partner and I have Olympic medals, we've never displayed them anywhere,” said Mills.

“We've always been really fearful of them getting nicked, but now the IOC announced that if they get nicked, you can have replacements which never used to be the case.

“We are going to display them somewhere, probably not outside their door, that’s a bit too close to Eilidh’s childhood, so we'll display them somewhere else!

“I think it's one of those things that I've always thought if I have a child and obviously the first thing is you want them to be healthy and happy and do what they love to do, and I guess our role is to give them the opportunities.

“So, of course, we'll take them sailing and windsurfing and all of the water sports and then I'm sure they'll find that their passion and we'll support that.”

While Mills is keen for her child to give both sailing and windsurfing a go, she is more hesitant about her response if they were to pick Dempsey’s discipline over hers.

She added: “No, I won’t mind, we’ll see, but yeah, I’ll be a little bit annoyed!”

Mills was speaking ahead of the release of the new Olympic Channel documentary ‘Chasing Tokyo’ on Thursday, which followed her and the British Sailing Team in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.

Mills and McIntyre won the women’s 470 class to grab the Welsh ace’s second gold, a feat that made her the most successful female Olympic sailor of all-time.

It also meant the duo will be the final all-female champions in that class, with the 470 becoming a mixed event and McIntyre now set to compete at Paris 2024 alongside Martin Wrigley.

Mills said: “That's actually really cool, isn't it? That we might be the final ever female 470 gold medal team. That’s really cool.

“But I really, really love the mixed events at the Olympic Games and in any sport, I think what it shows really well is how important it is for men and women to be to be treated on the same level, same podium, same prize money, same whatever.

“I think it just sends a really strong message to young girls and boys of the power of us coming together and training together and working towards the same goals.

“And that both men and women offer very different, often, but both equally as important things when building a team, so I think the mixed events are really powerful for showing that.

“I think it also really engages families with watching sport, because everyone in that family can watch what's going on and think, oh, that could be me, or that could be me in some other way, so I think it's a really powerful message. I love it.”

Watch Chasing Tokyo at Olympics.com

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