NICOLE KIDMAN WORKS SOME MAGIC ON AUSSIE 47022 Apr 2016
It’s the Aussie secret weapon for success — Hollywood actor Nicole Kidman. Olympic champion Mat Belcher has continued the tradition started by top former Australian 470 sailors in naming their boats after Kidman movies.
The connection with the Australian Kidman has certainly worked with Belcher winning multiple world titles with his old crew Mal Page before their Olympic gold in London on Practical Magic.
Now Belcher and new crew Will Ryan, also multiple world champions, launched their latest boat prior to winning the 470 Europeans, but not before naming it Room to Move. T
They went deep into the Kidman archives for this one…
Aussie Malcolm Page, 470 gold medalist at 2008 and 2012 Olympics, shares the background on the tradition…
"It started when Nathan Wilmot and I were teamed up, but when we went away from it at the 2004 Athens Games and finished 12th, we went back to that naming scheme straight after and we started winning again. When Nathan retired and I teamed up with Mat for the 2012 Games, I would not let the tradition go. I think Mat now feels the same way!"
The funniest bit for me was two things:
"When Nicole reached out to us just before the 2008 Games, we had a great phone call with her. Nicole was pregnant with Sunday Rose at the time, but of course none of us knew the sex of the baby. I asked if it was a boy, I think she should name it after us considering we were naming our boats after her! We got a good laugh, and then she said 'No bloody way!'"
Sitting in the food hall in Beijing eating my breakfast before the first race day. My Aussie mobile starts ringing with an Australian number that I didn’t have saved in my phone. My instant thought was, it’s a journalist … and I’m not talking to them just before my first race of that Games! So I hit the red button. Then one minute later I got a text along the lines of, 'just tried to call to wish you luck for the racing. Thinking of you both. X Nic.' Didn’t I look impressive in front of the boys saying I rejected a call from Nicole Kidman."
The incident at the 2008 Games remains memorable for Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck. “I thought the internet may melt with the number of Kidman 470 stories getting posted… all forms of media picked up on it,” recalled Leweck. “From a promotional aspect for the sport, it made an indelible impression. When you mix something that gets lots of press – like celebrity – with something eager for the same – like sailing – there’s a lot to leverage and a lot for both entities to gain from.”