Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 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.

Insun - AC ProgramPredictWind.com 2014Giacomo Yacht Sale

Related Articles

A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun
An interview with Allan McLean about the 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Allan McLean, the Marion to Bermuda Race’s executive director, to learn more about this biennial event. The 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race is set to kick off on Friday, June 9, so I caught up with Allan McLean, the race’s executive director, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the special America’s Cup experience that awaits Marion to Bermuda sailors upon reaching the Onion Patch.
Posted on 5 Jun
An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr