by Matt Carter
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson have claimed British sailing’s first medal by winning Star class silver at Weymouth and Portland on Sunday, 5 August. The silver medal makes Iain Percy the joint second most successful British Olympic sailor of all time, equalling Rodney Pattisson’s achievement of two golds and one silver medal.
Percy and Simpson - close but a silver cigar
Percy won his first Olympic medal with gold in the Finn class at Sydney 2000 before claiming Star gold with Simpson at Beijing 2008. Today’s medal is Simpson’s second, having won gold in the Star with Percy in Beijing.
Knowing that they already had a minimum of a bronze sewn up, Percy and Simpson went into the final double points’ medal race with an eight point advantage over nearest rivals, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), and 12 points ahead of Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (SWE), in third overall.
But as the Swedes seized the opportunity to control of the race at the front of the fleet, the Brits gave it their all to try to secure the required place in the top six to ensure gold but couldn’t quite get the edge they needed to clinch it at the death. Sweden finished with 32 points to the Brits’ 34. Brazil claimed bronze.
Speaking immediately after the race, Percy said: 'It can be cruel, it feels it at the moment. That’s the problem you end up racing in ridiculous conditions but we got it wrong. It’s pretty gutting, we feel a bit robbed but we will have to take it on the chin.
'Just going past [the spectators], we’re hurting so much inside so to feel that they are still happy for us, it will be one of the highlights of my life and the only thing that could put a smile on my face.
Simpson added: 'You’re never 100 % confident, sailing on the Nothe course can be a bit of a lottery at times and the last run proved it. The Swedes and the Brazilians have done a great job this week. We’re just sorry to everyone that’s watched us. We tried our hardest but it wasn’t to be.'
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.