Shirley Robertson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameShirley Ann•Robertson (-Boag)
Used nameShirley•Robertson
Born15 July 1968 in Dundee, Scotland (GBR)
Measurements169 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsRoyal Thames Yacht Club, London (GBR)
NOC Great Britain
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Shirley Robertson learnt to sail on the lochs of Scotland using a dinghy assembled by her father, a former navy officer, in the garage of their home. Originally she competed in the Europe class of dinghies and was ninth at the 1992 Olympic Games. She was in medal contention for the entire Olympic regatta in 1996 but a couple of poor races proved the difference between a bronze medal and fourth place and she missed out by just two points.

Between Atlanta and Sydney she became a regular contender at the World Championships placing 4th, 2nd, 3rd and 2nd in sequence and emerged as one of the favourites for the Sydney Olympics. Robertson went to the top of the standings after race 2 of the 11 staged in Sydney Harbour and was never headed from then on until the end of the competition and became the first British Olympic champion in 80 years.

After being named the ISAF’s “Sailor of the Year” for 2000 she then switched classes to join Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb in the Yngling class of boat to form a trio that was given the affectionate nickname of “Three Blondes in a Boat.” The three women combined to seal victory at the Athens Olympics without having to race on the final day of the competition.

Robertson missed most of 2005 and 2006 due to the birth of twins but returned with the intention of competing at the Beijing Olympics. Since Ayton and Webb had already found a replacement for her on their boat she decided to form her own crew. Although successful in their own right they were not able to oust her former teammates from a place on the Olympic team.

Robertson was present in Beijing as a member of the BBC commentary and has since moved into television presentation with CNN International as host of their sailing programme “Mainsail.”


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1992 Summer Olympics Sailing GBR Shirley Robertson
One Person Dinghy, Women (Olympic) 9
1996 Summer Olympics Sailing GBR Shirley Robertson
One Person Dinghy, Women (Olympic) 4
2000 Summer Olympics Sailing GBR Shirley Robertson
One Person Dinghy, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
2004 Summer Olympics Sailing GBR Shirley Robertson
Three Person Keelboat, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 1 Gold