sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : London 2012 Olympics - Winner takes all
London 2012 Olympics - Winner takes all

'Finns racing at the London 2012 Olympic Games'    Richard Langdon /Ocean Images ©    Click Here to view large photo

The story remains the same - Ben Ainslie v Jonas Hogh-Christensen; Big Ben v The Great Dane in the title fight for the greatest Olympic sailor ever. It's a cliché packed delight, a smorgasbord of sporting archetypes. It's particularly tasty when you throw in the angle that a fourth gold medal for Ainslie will rip the title out of the hands of the original (and still the best) Great Dane, Paul Elvstrom. Ben Ainslie fights for his place in history, Jonas Hogh-Christensen fights for his countrymen's honour.

Sailing purists may well feel that this is getting over-blown to the point where it's overshadowing the entire Olympic regatta - and not to its benefit. There's a part of me that wants to agree with this - there are fantastic stories elsewhere: the top four 470 Women are separated by just three points; Annalise Murphy's rugged defence of her lead after four straight opening wins in the Laser Radial; Dorian Van Rijsselberge's extraordinary scorecard in the RS:X Men - 1,1,1,(3),1,2; Marina Alabau almost as effective in the RS:X Women 2,1,1,1,(5),2; and finally, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson's exquisite unpicking of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada's heavy weather game in the Star, to go into the medal race with an eight point lead.

Exciting as all this is to those of us in the know, those of us who understand the personalities and the history, it just doesn't cut it with sports and news editors at major media outlets. They hear 'Greatest Ever...' and immediately spike everything else. And I have a lot of sympathy with that position - I write novels and I love a good story, and you couldn't write a story like Big Ben v The Great Dane without being accused of being unrealistic.

Today was a case in point. Race one and The Great Dane (TGD) has a solid start and converts it to a fourth at the top - he's won races from there. Meanwhile, Big Ben (BB) is struggling to find a lane off the line and can only work it into an 11th by the end of the beat. But the steel is back in BB's eyes and he progresses steadily while TGD slowly slips back towards him. By the finish, what should or could have been a massive scoreboard gainer for TGD, reaps him just a single lousy point.

Jonas Høgh-Christensen (Finn) -  Francois Richard ©  

The gap on the overall leaderboard is back to four points, and there's just one more to go before the medal race. Time to trot out all those 'cometh the moment, cometh the man' clichés, but there's no getting away from it - BB is launched out of the blocks on this most critical of all starts. He's second at the top, through into first by the end of the reach, proceeding to sail away from everyone downwind like he was in a different, bigger boat.

But wait... TGD has also found another gear downwind, screaming through from sixth to second. Suddenly things don't look so good for BB - he will need another boat between him and TGD in the medal race to take gold, and that will leave him relying on someone else - his fate will be out of his hands. So BB lets the mainsail out and slows down to wait for TGD... Oh. My. Word.

A lot will be written about what happened next, so I might as well get my two cents worth in early. I don't think Ainslie had any physical effect on Hogh-Christensen. Ben maintained a steady gap of about 100m for the whole beat, and was too far ahead of Jonas to have slowed him down effectively.

But I'm sure that it must have unsettled the Dane to see Ainslie hovering up there to windward. Jonas could hardly have helped wondering what the former World Match Racing Champion was going to do next, when he should have been focused on the next wave, the next shift - and Pieter-Jan Postma.

And sure enough, Postma was past Hogh-Christensen by the next windward mark, and held that lead comfortably down the final run. The gap between Ainslie and Hogh-Christensen is down to just two points, and that means that under the tie-break rules, whoever wins the medal race will win gold. So unless they let Postma get too far ahead, it really will be winner takes all.

Big Ben v The Great Dane is a great story, there's just no getting away from it, and while part of me acknowledges the unfairness of this on everyone else out there on Weymouth Bay, the bigger part of me is just grateful that sailing has such a fantastic story to bring it into the media spotlight at this extraordinary sporting jamboree. Maybe, just maybe, it'll encourage a few more kids to give sailing a go, and that can't be a bad thing.


by Mark Chisnell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=100553

6:36 PM Fri 3 Aug 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on


Related News Stories:

06 Aug 2012  London 2012 Olympics - Ben Ainslie greatest sailing Olympian to date
06 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012 - When seconds count
06 Aug 2012  London 2012 Olympics - Percy and Simpson claim Star silver
06 Aug 2012  London Olympic 2012 Sailing Competition - Results after day 8
05 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012—Ainslie wins historic fourth Olympic gold
05 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012—Stars fade but gold shines on
05 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012—Medal fever sets in
05 Aug 2012  London Olympics: Day 7 - Half NZ Team inside top five of their fleets
05 Aug 2012  London Olympics 2012 - Belcher and Page in familiar territory
05 Aug 2012  London 2012 Olympic Games – Australian sailing preview day 8
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I) *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,




















America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team by Richard Gladwell, Sail-world.com/nz,


Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3 by Bob Fisher, Hamilton Island, Queensland




2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1 by Markus Schwendtner, Istanbul
























Opera House Cup - Images by Ingrid Abery by Ingrid Abery/Sail-World.com,


Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships by Stuart Johnstone, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England














Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Day 8: Test of endurance
Bart's Bash: Over 2300 entered from 588 yacht clubs - Join here
Halifax ready to welcome the world at 2014 IFDS World Championships
RC44 World Championship title to Bronenosec + Video
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Day 2 Images by Crosbie Lorimer
IFDS Worlds - Gary Jobson to attend opening ceremonies
Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Dalton DeVos crowned champion
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games trailer
2014 Chicago Grand Slam - Canfield wins
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Varuna takes overall lead
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; Crosbie Lorimer Day 1 Images
Fisher's View: Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 1 - Stayin' Alive
CORK Olympic Classes Regatta 2014 - Day one
Youth Olympics: practice over, athletes welcomed, time for YOG sailing
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Record for Artemis-Team Endeavour
2014 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Day 2
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland: Artemis sets fourth course record
2014 Chicago Grand Slam - Top seeds survive as semi-finalists
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Breezy day 4 in Gdynia
RC44 World Championship - Dramatic improvement for Artemis Racing
18' Skiff International Regatta - Action begins August 25th   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Challenging conditions arise   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Record-breaking monohull victory   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Dongfeng Race Team finishes third   
RC44 Marstrand World Championship - Bronenosec the star performer   
Bahamian Olympic Sailor to carry flag in honour of Sir Durward Knowles   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race: Records continue to tumble   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race: Course Record for Team SCA   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Team Alvimedica completes the race   
2014 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Day 1   
420 and 470 Junior European Championships - A crazy race day 3   
2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race: Monohull record smashed   
2014 Chicago Grand Slam - Top seeds take the early lead   
Frostad proud to have seven Volvo Ocean Race boats with seven sponsors *Feature   
RC44 World Championship - Bronenosec Sailing Team on form   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Dongfeng defends third position   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind emerges into the sunlight   
Volvo Ocean Race: Round Britain on board Team SCA with the   
Volvo Ocean Race: Round Britain on board Azzam and Team Campos   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Twist of fate on day 5   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT