London Olympics 2012 - 470 Mens showdown
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World.com Team on 8 Aug 2012
Australia's 470 World Champions Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page and Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell have cleared away from the rest of the Men’s 470 fleet.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) competing in the Men’s Two Person Dinghy (470) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com
For each of the teams even a last placing in the medal race will secure silver, but Gold is their aim.
The Australians have the track record. They have won every regatta of the pre-Olympic season and have beaten the Brits in seven out of eight races so far in this regatta. Belcher and Page have the experience and they have a four points advantage going into the Medal Race after double bullets today, the final day of the 470 fleet racing series. And they have the super coach Victor Kovalenko behind them.
The Australians could just choose to match sail the British to last place and it would be ‘goodnight Irene’.
There was plenty of bravado from the British duo today, who need to beat the more experienced Australians to win gold.
'We didn't come here for second place,' Patience said. 'We're stoked, don't get us wrong. We're really happy boys but there is work to be done.
Patience was asked ‘How do you approach the medal race? They could try to match race you’.
‘We have got nothing to lose at the minute’ he replied. ‘We are the underdogs. They are absolute favourites coming in and we are closer than we have ever been to them. If I had to say who has more pressure I would say definitely them. They are expected to win and we are not so we have got nothing to lose and we will go out and see if we can upset the Aussies.’
The Australians are confident.
Malcolm Page, backing up for a second Gold medal after his Beijing win with Nathan Wilmot, commented ‘ We don't want to let our game plan out of the bag. We just want to keep sailing how we are sailing. Once we had gotten the first day jitters out of the way we were back to our normal mojo.
‘Since then there’s been eight races and we have won seven of them over the Brits. We have just got to keep that style going and trust ourselves.’
Mat Belcher explained ‘In lighter conditions they lose their upwind advantage, as we are lighter. We are very fast downwind so have been able to compensate for that but today was again a little bit lighter so the actual weight is not so much of an advantage. We would love to have a bit more of a mix this week but it was fantastic today to be able to capitalise on that and come away with two wins.
‘Overall we have really stepped it up. Our preparation this year has been fantastic and they have done the same.’
Malcolm continued. ‘Since we got the first day jitters out I have been really happy with our style of racing and our fighting spirit. It’s great to work our way back into it. We did say on day one we were very disappointed with how we had sailed.
‘It wasn't our normal performance and those results could have hurt us but we stayed strong and believed in ourselves and trusted each other and our unit and continues to deliver. It’s great to be back in front again and with four points advantage.’‘
‘I have obviously felt that before (from Beijing) so I know how to win and we have done it with world championships. I still remember the first championships I won. It was much harder than the second because you learn how to win. You learn how to have the yellow jersey on and to manage it. I like where we are.’
Belcher and Pager are certainly sailing well. It will be a great battle for the gold medal race and we will thoroughly enjoy it.