Olympics Day 11 Tunnicliffe - Gold - Laser Radial

Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) winner of the Gold Medal - Laser Redial - 2008 Olympics
Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) finished in second place in today's Laser Radial medal race to claim gold at her first Olympic Games. Having never won a race in the eight-day series, Tunnicliffe sailed with consistency to win by the tightest of margins.

Tunnicliffe entered the 10-boat, light air medal race defending gold, but after turning back at the start for an individual recall she had potentially taken herself out of the running. She said she wasn't positive whether she was over early or not, but she wanted to be safe. Her setback left her fighting to keep silver around the first lap, and by the bottom mark she had lost one boat and rounded in second to last. On that last upwind leg, she said, 'I saw a puff on the left and said, 'Well, here it goes.' It was a risk, but it was a risk worth taking.'

Tunnicliffe shot up to third place at the next mark, putting her in gold and sending the crowd on land into frenzied cheers. She finished the race in second, her fans went ballistic and she had clinched the Olympic gold medal.

Tunnicliffe had opened the event in first place, but dropped down to third after the fifth race when the throwout scores had come into play. She said,' You know in the end consistency will pay, but when they were dropping scores and passing me in the middle of the regatta that was stressful. But my coaches kept telling me it was going to pay off in the end.' Luther Carpenter has coached U.S. sailors to three bronze medals but Tunnicliffe's is his first gold. He said of the strategy, 'The game plan was to stay out of the corners and not sail a drop.

This felt good in the beginning but then Lithuania and New Zealand paid off by hitting corners. We asked how long this could continue odds-wise: It's too unstable of a place to keep playing the sides that hard. It was tempting to go for an end start or hit a side, but you must give her credit she stayed disciplined. At the end she took a risk, she played with what she saw and she was right.' Carpenter continued, 'Anna is your dream athlete. She's a hard worker, in amazing shape, very open to coaching, completely driven and she sees path clearly to winning.'

U.S. Olympic Sailing Program High Performance Director Gary Bodie coached Tunnicliffe at her very first international event in the beginning of this quad. 'Anna only finished in the high teens at that event, but you could see it then,' he said. Fast forward to May 2008 at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland. After she won the first race, Bodie didn't have to do much coaching at all. 'I told her, 'Anna, if you do that exact same thing again every race we're going to win by a mile,' and that's what happened.'

After winning her medal she was rushed to doping control and TV cameras, given a quick second to change clothes and mobbed by local staff looking for pictures with her. Then at the medal ceremony it finally hit her. She said, 'When I walked in, I teared up and thought, 'This is for real.' She was so stricken she forgot to sing her anthem. Then, as she sat in the pre-press conference quarantine room she took pictures with her escorts, signed shirts, signed the city log book and signed about twenty autographs for city officials. Halfway through the autographs she paused and held her breath. Asked what was wrong, she said, 'It's just sinking in.'

Tunnicliffe didn't just do an Olympic campaign; she did an Olympic gold campaign. She and everyone around her knew she could do it, and more than one person said she practically willed it to happen with her hard work.

Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 2008 Qingdao

Stars and Tornados also hit the course today but after half an hour of sailing their races were abandoned for light winds. They will ramp up their schedule with three races tomorrow starting at 11:00 a.m. RS:X Men and Women sailed one race today and proceed to their medal races tomorrow. Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.) did not qualify for the medal races and so have finished their Olympic regattas. Over the course of the event, they both mentioned how much they were learning about the Olympic experience. Though they were challenged in the event, they both have gained an invaluable Olympic perspective and will campaign for London 2012.

Current Standings for U.S. Sailors

Star: 16 boats
1. Loof and Ekstrom (SWE), 1, 4, (15), 3, 6, 1, 8; 23
2. Percy and Simpson (GBR), 7, (13), 3, 5, 8, 2, 1; 26
3. Rohart and Rambeau (FRA), (12), 1, 5, 4, 7, 6, 9; 32

12. John Dane (Gulfport, Miss.) and Austin Sperry (Gulfport, Miss.), 8, 2, 4, 12, 15, 15, (16); 56

Finn: 26 boats
1. Ainslie (GBR), (10), 1, 4, 1, 1, 10, 2, 2, 2; 23
2. Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), 2, 5, 2, 2, 7, 8, 7, (19), 12; 45
3. Florent (FRA), 5, 8, 20, 3, 4, 6, 4, (21), 8; 58

Laser Radial: 28 boats
1. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), 4, 5, (6), 5, 6, 3, (15), 2, 2, 4; 37
2. Volungeviciute (LTU), 3, (13), 8, 1, 1, 4, (21), 6, 4, 2; 42
3. Lijia Ku (CHN), (24), 3, 10, 6, 5, 2, 1, 11, 6, 6; 50

Yngling: 15 boats
1. Ayton, Webb and Wilson (GBR), 2, 3, 4, (7), 4, 2, 2, 5, 2; 24
2. Mulder, Bes, Witteveen (NED), 9, 1, 2, (13), 1, 5, 4, 1, 8; 31
3. Bekatorou, Papadopoulou, Kravarioti (GRE), 10, 12, 9, 3, 2, (OCS), 3, 3, 6; 48

7. Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), (14), 2, 8, 5, 6, 11, 1, 10, 18 ; 61

49er: 19 boats
1. Warrer and Ibsen (DEN), 2, 4, (10), 4, 2, 3, 4, 2, 9, 2, 7, 8, 14; 61
2. Martinez and Fernandez (ESP), 1, 10, 17, 2, (20/OCS), 5, 7, 10, 3, 4, 1, 2, 2; 64
3. Peckolt and Peckolt (GER), (15), 6, 11, 6, 3, 2, 2, 12, 4, 5, 4, 7, 4; 66

6. Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Chris Rast (San Diego, Calif.), 5, 14, 15, (16), 5, 10, 1, 1, 1, 3, 8, 4, 22/DNF; 89

Tornado: 15 boats
1. Echavarri and Blanco (ESP), 1, 6, 1, 4, 7, (13), 1; 20
2. Bundock and Ashby (AUS), 5, 4, 3, 1, 5, (9), 2; 20
3. Paschalidis and Trigonis (GRE), 2, 5, 12, 7, 2, 12, 4; 32

14. John Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Charlie Ogletree (Kemah, Texas), 14, 12, 7, 11, 12, 14, (15); 70

Laser: 43 boats
1. Goodison (GBR), (15), 2, 15, 1, 9, 7, 1, 4, 6, 18; 63
2. Zbogar (SLO), (24), 4, 14, 6, 2, 11, 18, 1, 11, 4; 71
3. Romero (ITA), 6, 3, 5, (36), 10, 15, 11, 9, 10, 6; 75

25. Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.), 14, 18, 1, 26, 32, (44/BFD), 8, 18, 31; 174

Men's 470: 29 boats
1. Wilmot and Page (AUS), 4, (7), 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, (16), 3, 10; 42
2. Coster and Coster (NED), 11, (15), 12, 2, 8, 15, 2, 8, 4, 2; 64
2. Charbonnier and Bausset (FRA), 6, 3, 8, 1, 6, 18, 3, 14, 7, (20); 66

13. Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.), 26, 12, (30/OCS), 17, 15, 1, 4, 1, 6, 23; 105

Women's 470: 19 boats
1. Rechichi and Parkinson (AUS), 2, 2, 4, 1, (9), 4, 2, 5, 3, 2; 25
2. De Koning and Berkhout (NED), 3, 1, 9, 5, 2, 2, 10, 7, 4, (16); 43
3. Oliveira and Swan (BRA), 11, (16), 5, 10, 7, 6, 6, 2, 7, 4; 58

12. Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Mergenthaler (New York, N.Y.), 12, 12, 10, 14, 4, (17), 7, 6, 17, 7; 89

Men's RS:X: 35 board
1. Bontemps (FRA), (13), 1, 5, 4, 10, 8, 2, 10, 2, 3; 45
2. Dempsey (GBR), 11, 9, 3, 2, 1, 7, (17), 5, 3, 5; 46
3. Ashley (NZL), 4, 7, 7, 1, 5, 5, 3, 6, 8, (32); 46

26. Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 21, 22, 24, 26, 26; (32), 25, 11, 25, 31; 217

Women's RS:X: 27 boards
1. Yin (CHN), 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, (13), 7, 8, 8, 1; 33
1. Sensini (ITA), 6, 2, 9, 1, (28/DSQ), 3, 2, 2, 5, 8; 38
3. Shaw (GBR), 4, 3, 11, 6, (28/OCS), 6, 5, 3, 1, 2; 41

26. Nancy Rios (Miami, Fla.), 25, 24, 22, 26, 24, 27, (28/DNF), (28/DNF), 26, 22; 224

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