Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

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 http://www.richardgladwell.com
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.

Related Articles

Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge - the retrospective -Part III
In Part III, the Question and Answer session, we will discover why Nathan’s nick name is George and why Tom is so fast Interview with Nathan Outteridge and Tom Slingsby. In Part III, the Question and Answer session, we will discover why Nathan’s nick name is George and why Tom is so fast at post capsize recovery.
Posted on 9 Nov 2015
Blast from the past, do you remember this? Great Video!!
One particular race in the 2012 London Olympic Laser Radial regatta in Weymouth was one of most watched sailing events One particular race in the 2012 London Olympic Laser Radial regatta in Weymouth was one of the most watched sailing events of 2012. Watch it again to remember exactly why.
Posted on 8 Nov 2015
Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 - THAT Speech
Lijia Xu (CHN) was crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 at an awards night in Dublin, Ireland: Lijia Xu (CHN) was crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 at an awards night in Dublin, Ireland. The acceptance speech from the China sailor was one of the most eloquent ever heard. The acceptance speech from the China sailor was one of the most eloquent ever heard. If you have not heard it, you can catch it now.
Posted on 3 Nov 2013
Mat Belcher – 17 in a row - 'The harder I work, the luckier I get'
The harder I work the luckier I get, is a quotation attributed variously to Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain The harder I work the luckier I get, is a quotation attributed variously to Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain but perhaps of Amish origin, but regardless the sentiment is well understood. And it’s something that one of Australia´s most successful Olympic class regatta sailors and his coach understands very well.
Posted on 20 Aug 2013
Ainslie- Close to quitting sailing after Andrew 'Bart' Simpson's death
I came close to quitting sailing after Andrew 'Bart' Simpson's death, says Sir Ben Ainslie. British sailing great, Sir Ben Ainslie writes in The Daily Telegraph on after the funeral service for his close friend, Andrew Simpson, killed in San Francisco as a result of an AC72 break up, during a training session.
Posted on 3 Jun 2013
A Tribute to Bart
This video pays tribute to Andrew Simpson's many sailing achievements, His Service is to held on May 31, in England Andrew 'Bart' Simpson died in the capsize of the Artemis Racing AC72 on May 9, 2013. His service will be held on Friday May 31 in Sherborne Abbey, UK, followed by a celebration of his life at Sherborne Castle. This video pays tribute to Bart's many sailing achievements
Posted on 31 May 2013
Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours, five others recognised
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie has been Knighted in the New Year Honours list. British sailor and four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie has capped a triumphant year of sailing with a Knighthood in the New Year Honours list. British Sailing has more cause for celebration, with honours also going to Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas, and to Ainslie’s coach David Howlett, who were both named as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Posted on 29 Dec 2012
2012 Paralympic Games a winner in global TV ratings
The London 2012 Paralympic Games were a TV ratings winner with pictures shown in more countries than ever before. The London 2012 Paralympic Games were a TV ratings winner with pictures shown in more countries than ever before and attracted their biggest ever international audience according to new figures published by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Posted on 28 Nov 2012
London Paralympic Games debrief to start in Rio
Paralympic Games committee will share their knowledge and experiences of London 2012 with future organising committees. The organising committee of what International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven defined as the best ever Paralympic Games, will share their knowledge and experiences of London 2012 with future organising committees and the 2020 candidate cities this week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Posted on 21 Nov 2012
2012 Olympics- The Medalists thoughts on Kites and Windsurfers
The new Olympic Medalists were asked their thoughts on the decision to change the event from Windsurfing to Kiteboarding At the Medal Winners Media Conference held after the Medal Ceremony for the Mens and Womens Windsurfing Event at the 2012 Olympics, the new Olympic Medalists were asked their thoughts on the decision to change the event from Windsurfing to Kiteboarding the 2016 Olympics.
Posted on 2 Nov 2012
Southern Spars - 100Kilwell - 3T Clewring AC72