by Emma Slater
London Olympics 2012 Sailing Competition - Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell have won Olympic 470 Men’s silver at Weymouth and Portland today, Friday 10th August, Great Britain’s fourth sailing medal.
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) competing in the Men’s Two Person Dinghy (470) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
The medal is Olympics debut silverware for Rhu’s Patience and Bithell from Rochdale.
The pair went into today’s double points’ medal race sitting second overall, four points behind Australian leaders, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page. With every placing worth two points in the medal race, the Brits had to finish ahead of the Aussies with at least one boat in between them.
The Brits got off to a great start and in the early stages it was advantage Patience and Bithell. But the Australians started to take control in the light winds on the first downwind leg and rounded the second mark leading. Despite the breeze increasing slightly heading back up to the top mark the Brits couldn’t quite get the jump on the Aussie boat and a British penalty for pumping on the final downwind run consolidated Australia’s hold on gold as they crossed the line in second and Britain fourth.
Speaking immediately after the race, Bithell said: 'We tried it, we got the better of them at the start and just managed to sneak ahead but we also got ahead of the rest of the fleet! They sailed a fantastic race, we tried to attack but they are worthy champions. We’re happy with second, it’s our first Games.'
Patience added: 'It’s just so good. It’s been three years hard work together, 15 years up there, and here we are standing on the Olympic podium. We’re young boys, there’s still plenty of time, we will be coming back. What a week, we’ve sailed the regatta of our lives, what a place, we’re in paradise.'
The 470 Men’s medal followed Ben Ainslie’s Finn gold and Iain Percy / Andrew Simpson’s Star silver on Sunday and Nick Dempsey’s RS:X Windsurfing silver on Tuesday.
RYA London Olympics website