Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

London Olympics 2012 - The Dominant, The Dream and The Desperate

by Mark Chisnell on 5 Aug 2012
Tom Slingsby (AUS) who has a 14pt lead iun the Mens Singlehander (Laser) going into the Medal Race on Monday. © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, the Ben v Jonas show stepped aside for a day off ahead of the medal race, which leaves us casting around for other good stories. There are three ways to pick a strong narrative - totally dominant performances, dreams-come-true and desperately tight contests. Based on that principle, we have three strong contenders - you choose!

The Dominant

First up, we have Dorian Van Rijsselberge in the RS:X Men, who is discarding a third from his eight races so far, and counting five firsts and two seconds. He is already 15 points ahead of Nick Dempsey in silver and could well seal the gold medal ahead of the final race. While gold for Dorian is not unexpected - he's a very consistent performer in Weymouth - this kind of dominance is still pretty special. Particularly when you also look at Nick Dempsey's record - a podium in every one of eight world class events in Weymouth.


Second to bat in the dominant category is Australia's Tom Slingsby, the cast-iron favourite for gold in the Laser who started the week brilliantly, with a first and a couple of seconds, but then had a wobble that dropped him to second place overall. After the low point of a 14th in yesterday's first race, Slingsby appears to have given himself a stiff talking to, and finally came out firing for the second. He won it, and followed that up today with two more victories to take three straight bullets in the final three races of the regular series.

The Laser is the biggest fleet here with 49 boats and when you watch them race you realise how special that kind of performance is - they round the marks in packs and for Slingsby to find the inches to get him out in front every time, right when he needs to, in identical boats... you get the idea. Slingsby has a 14 point lead going into the medal race and a guarantee of at least silver. He really turned it on today when he most had to - the mark of a champion, as they say.

The Dream

Every Olympics throws up the dream story, the individual who for whatever reason of history, background or circumstance captures the imagination. Today that person was Pavlos Kontides who won the first ever medal for his country of Cyprus, and he did it in the Laser. Kontides finished the day 22 points ahead of fourth placed Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia, guaranteeing Cyprus at least a bronze. In all likelihood it will be a silver, as Kontides has a 21 point lead over Sweden's third placed Rasmus Myrgren. I'm sure Pavlos will go home a hero, judging by the support he had on the ISAF Live Blog today.


The Desperate

In the desperately tight corner is the extraordinary Women's Radial competition - going into the medal race we have gold and silver tied on 33 points (Lijia Xu and Marit Bouwmeester) and bronze tied on 34 points (Annalise Murphy and Evi Van Acker). Can you imagine the pressure those four girls will be under on Monday when they start the medal race? Any one of them could come away with gold, or nothing.

This story is all the more remarkable when you consider that it started out as a story of the dominance of Ireland's Annalise Murphy. Murphy won the opening four races, and then lost her way posting an eighth, nineteenth, a second and a tenth ahead of today's racing, to lie second overall. And today was tough to watch, even for the neutral - at the first mark in the final race she held third place and had her hands, and her hands alone, on gold. But she slipped back to seventh by the finish and will start the medal race in third. If Murphy leaves Weymouth empty-handed it will be one of the sob stories of the Games. Unless you're Lijia Xu, Marit Bouwmeester or Evi Van Acker. It's a tough world, Olympic sport.

Zhik Dinghy 660x82North Technology - Southern SparsBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Wicked
ather and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery Father and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery, but Mark is out on the water, approaching Hobart. From on board he said, 'Amazing race. Barely any windward work. Just does not get better than this. Bit of gear damage cost us early, and we had to sail a little conservatively.'
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Accepting the Challenge
When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South at Christmas time. Luckily this has not been a problem for Chris Mrakas and his new crew, which includes Bruce Reidy
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – 67 out of 70
It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite in the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race so far, then it is more than A+++. Anto Sweetapple from on board the Jones 40, Quetzalcoatl, reports in from at sea for us.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2016 - The 60 Hour report card
60 hours into the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart race. 16 boats finished,five boats retired and 67 boats at sea. The state of play 60 hours into the 72nd running of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. At 0100hrs Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time this morning, 16 boats had finished the 2016 race. Five boats had retired, and 67 boats were still on the water.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – the second step for CQS and 2017
It was a frustrating end to a frustrating race for the newest supermaxi in the 2016 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race It was a frustrating end to a frustrating race for the newest supermaxi to compete in the 2016 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. It was just her second ever race, with her first, the White Island Race in New Zealand, producing a line honours win. While Ludde Ingvall’s radical new 98-footer CQS had a very slow passage across an almost windless Storm Bay and River Derwent.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016