Hannah Mills hopes London 2012 success inspires British women

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Heather Mills sails in the Extreme 40

Hannah Mills, Britain's 470 Olympic silver medallist, hopes her success alongside Saskia Clark in London will inspire more women to stay in sport.

Women won eleven of Great Britain's 29 gold medals, their best-ever haul.

"I definitely think Team GB women doing so well was a huge boost especially for the young girls," said Mills.

"When kids are coming through school it's very easy to drop out of sports so hopefully London will encourage them to stay involved for as long as possible."

Last week the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundationexternal-link [WSFF] raised concerns that women are being denied the chance to capitalise on the legacy of the London Olympics and claimed that women's sport receives less media coverage than men's.

"The achievements of Jessica Ennis, Sarah Storey, Kath Grainger and so many others have taken support for women's sport to new heights and made 2012 the best year ever for women's sport," said WSFF chief executive Sue Tibballs.

"But we cannot rely on goodwill alone to overcome the obstacles to women's sport taking its proper place in public life.

"This has to change or the Olympic legacy will have failed for women."

Mills, 24, who is planning on continuing her 470 partnership with Clark through to Rio 2016, was speaking in Nice at the Extreme Sailing Seriesexternal-link where she was one of only a few women competing.

"It's great to be one of the only women here, but obviously it would be great if there were more women involved," continued Mills.

"Anna Tunnicliffe (US two-time World Sailor of the Year Award winner, who is also competing in the Extreme Sailing circuit) has done a lot for the sport and the way sailing is going I'm sure there will be many more opportunities for women to get involved."

Mills herself was invited to take part in the Nice leg of the Extreme Sailing Series by The Wave, Muscatexternal-link skipper Leigh McMillan.

She feels the experience could boost her preparations for a return to dingy sailing in the build up to the Rio 2016 Games.

"I think it's important to take some time off and the Extreme Sailing Series is about learning new skills and improving my sailing in all areas," said the 2012 470 World Champion.

"I think if you stay in the same boat for the whole four-year-cycle it gets pretty demoralising so you have to keep it fresh.

"I want to do as much different sailing as possible before stepping back into the 470 sometime next year."

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