Leigh McMillan

Leigh McMillan


  • Date of Birth 10/24/1980


Leigh McMillan, 27, is currently Britain’s top Tornado helm and is ranked sixth in the world. With nine years experience in the class, he has finished on the podium in some of the top international regattas, however is yet to win an Olympic medal. Having narrowly missed out on a top ten finish at the last Olympics in Athens 2004, Leigh has his eyes firmly set on fulfilling his dream of being on the podium at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. Leigh started sailing aged eight in a clinker built dinghy at Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight. It was during these outings that he developed a real love for all things sailing. Leigh quickly progressed to the Optimist class, where his natural ability shone through. After many years developing his sailing skills in monohull dinghies, Leigh was introduced to the fast and exciting world of catamaran sailing. Leigh took to the Tornado class very quickly and finished sixth at his first major international regatta on a catamaran, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, aged 18. Leigh’s senior career started with a succession of top ten finishes, and it was at the Holland Olympic Classes Regatta in 2003 that he won his first Grade One Gold medal, racing with crew Mark Bulkeley. This win gave the boys a taste for success and the ambition to challenge for an Olympic medal. McMillan and Bulkeley went on to finish second at the 2003 ISAF World Championships, and subsequently qualified to represent Great Britain at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Finishing 13th in the Olympic regatta, the pair took away valuable Olympic Regatta experience and further drove their ambition for Olympic medals. With the conditions for the next Olympic venue, Qingdao, known for being very light, in 2005 Leigh and Mark decided to part company as they believed that together they would be too heavy to remain competitive. As a result, Leigh joined forces with Will Howden who would be more suited to the optimum weight for Qingdao. In spite of a disappointing 2008 World Championship, Leigh and Will have had an otherwise solid start to their Olympic year, with silver and bronze medals won at major events in the southern hemisphere. Leigh McMillan finished 13th in the Tornado class at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He had secured his Olympic place with a silver medal at the 2003 Tornado World Championships in Cadiz and he also won a silver medal at the World Championships in La Rochelle in 2005. He had begun his career in Optimists and having represented Great Britain at World Youth Championships he progressed to the Laser Radial class. This move proved successful as he finished 5th at the World Championships in 1998. The following year he switched to Tornado and was chosen as a training partner at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He then joined the RYA World-Class Performance sailing team and finished 9th at the 2001 World Championships, 13th the following year, and finally he won the first of two silver medals at the 2003 event. McMillan had only been sailing with Mark Bulkeley for two years before winning selection for Athens. Leigh started sailing with his family in a clinker built dinghy on picnic outings in Newtown Creek aged 8 and from there progressed into an Optimist. Facts and Figures: Class: Tornado World Ranking: 6th (as of 5th March 2008) Position: Helm DOB: 24th October 1980 Born: Newport, Isle of Wight Currently living: Isle of Wight Started sailing: Aged 8 Duration in current class: Since 1999 Name of Crew: Will Howden Greatest strengths in sailing: Natural ability and perseverance Greatest weakness in sailing: Lack of Experience Biggest goal: To win a medal at the Olympics Who is your hero: Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy Who has been the most influential person in your sailing career: My Dad Other interests away from sailing: Art and Design, Sport in general

Medal Record

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