NZ Herald Olympics Banner
Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Rio Olympics 2016: Meech parents struggle to watch medal-winning children

New Zealand's Alex Maloney, back, and teammate Molly Meech won silver in the 49erFX class. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Alex Maloney, back, and teammate Molly Meech won silver in the 49erFX class. Photo / AP

Rio medallists and siblings Sam and Molly Meech may have made New Zealand Olympic history, but their parents can't even bear to watch them race.

The Tauranga sailors became the first brother and sister to win medals for New Zealand at the same Olympic Games, after Molly, 23, won a silver in the 49erFX and Sam, 25, claimed bronze in the Laser class.

Uncle Mark Flyger said their parents Simon and Deb, who are in Rio supporting their children, get so nervous while they are racing that they find it difficult to watch.

Sailing has always been a big part of Sam and Molly's life from a young age. Photo / AP
Sailing has always been a big part of Sam and Molly's life from a young age. Photo / AP

"They get really nervous. They can't actually face watching the races, they have to go for a walk they get that nervous.

"But they're really pleased, particularly for Sam because he had to really struggle to get selected.

It was great that he vindicated the selectors' faith in him."

Flyger said sailing has always been a massive part of both Sam and Molly's life from a young age.

"Molly started when she was only 18 months, when she sailed to the United Kingdom with my sister and brother-in-law and Sam, who is 18 months older than her.

"They then went to Tauranga and joined the Tauranga Yacht Club and they haven't looked back."

Flyger was a proud uncle waking up in the middle of the night to watch his niece and nephew win Olympic medals and write themselves into Kiwi sporting history.

"Our nerves have finally calmed down. We watched both races, both Sam and Molly in the early hours of the morning and it was really nerve-racking for quite a while, but the hard work they've put in over the years has paid off and they're really pleased."

A big family celebration is on the cards for when Sam and Molly return to New Zealand, with Flyger keen to get a closer look at the fruits of their labour.

"We'll definitely be catching up for sure, and I can't wait to see the medals. I thought they were in with a chance, but it's really unbelievable."​

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 27 Sep 2016 01:51:08 Processing Time: 588ms