They knew an Olympic gold medal defence was out of reach but Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen had to be switched on to avoid slipping from the podium entirely.
But the sailing mates from Wangi Wangi did better than just that, staving off any late challengers from fourth-placed Great Britain and jumping Germany from third to second overall in the men’s 49er during the medal race on day 13 of Games competition in Rio.
“If we weren’t at the top of our game they would have passed us,” Outteridge said.
“It was stressful but we held our nerve.
“We had to keep passing boats and we kept our heads and did that, and kept the race in our control.
“There was always that thought in our heads that it could slip out of our control.”
The dynamic duo started the final well on Guanabara Bay and ended up fourth.
“To be ahead of the two guys we needed to beat relaxed the nerves a bit,” Outteridge said.
The pair are now dual Olympic medalists following their win in London four years ago, but Outteridge said the expectation was higher coming into Rio this time.
“We’ve managed that pressure and fought hard the whole week,” he said.
An unexpected difficulty was staying focused on the water with Australia’s men’s 470 celebrating silver on the shore.
“We had to try not to get caught up in their celebrations and get carried away with the victory they just had,” Outteridge said.
A short time ago Outteridge and Jensen posted this online message to supporters back home.
“We're very proud to have won silver at Rio 2016 Olympic Games! Thanks for all the support here in Rio and back at home.#OneTeam #TeamWangi #Rio2016.”