Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

London Olympics 2012 - A tale of two Medal races

by Mark Chisnell on 7 Aug 2012
Tom Slingsby (AUS) competing in the Men’s One Person Dinghy (Laser) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com
When the medal race was introduced at the Olympic Sailing Competition, the hope was that it would bring heart-stopping action for spectators. Yesterday it delivered plenty, with the Star and Finn. And today, we saw a couple more classic medal race stories play out in the two Laser classes.

There was the all-but unassailable lead that dissolves into a match race at the back of the fleet. And then there was the incredibly tight points battle, remaining a proper fleet race right to the end.


The first was the Laser race which was largely a coronation parade for Tom Slingsby of Australia. He went into the race guaranteed gold or silver, and only had to sail Pavlos Kontides to the back of the fleet to make sure of it. Fortunately for the Cypriot he was also guaranteed gold or silver and so Slingsby's aggressive attack didn't leave him empty-handed - as it has for others in past years.

Slingsby's execution was clinical; he got the advantage on the first beat with a tiny edge in speed, and then kept his foot on Kontides's throat all the way round. By the end of lap two, Pavlos appeared to concede that he was never going to get past, never mind getting the bulk of the fleet between him and Slingsby required for gold.

Attention turned to the race for bronze, where Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren was just a point from Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic - and with fifth place a long way back, cue a second match race.

This one was much tighter, with Stipanovic holding the early advantage, but Myrgren going past him and eventually winning pretty comfortably. He had to survive a few tense minutes in the protest room, due to an equipment repair issue, but the bronze medal was his soon after.

The Radial Medal Race was an utterly compelling affair, with four girls going into it separated by a point, and in a position to win gold, or nothing. Someone was going to come away hurt - but who? Lijia Xu executed almost the perfect race to get the gold - despite a propulsion penalty at the end of the first run.

The Netherland's Marit Bouwmeester made sure of silver with some astonishing downwind pace on the first couple of runs. And that left bronze for either Evi Van Acker or Ireland's Annalise Murphy.



The final medal went down to the last leg. Murphy had her hand on it at the top mark, but she had tightened downwind before - losing crucial places on the run to the finish in the penultimate race.

And so it was again, Van Acker went past her on the last run and grabbed the bronze for Belgium - there were tears on 'Murphy's Mound', the spectator site at the Nothe. Perhaps your view on a medal race depends a great deal on whether you've got a dog in the fight. There was no British medal interest in these races and as a result they were a lot more entertaining, and a lot less traumatising!


But the terrors, tragedies and triumphs of the medal race can still be avoided completely, and I have to mention Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen who sealed Australia's second gold today in the penultimate 49er race. Dorian Van Rijsselberge had already achieved that in the RS:X Men, but behind him it will be a big tussle for silver and bronze tomorrow. In contrast, Kiwis Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have also sewn up the 49er silver. Fortunately, behind them it's an ugly six-way battle for bronze - and I suspect that one will be just as compelling as all the other medal races.

Mackay BoatsBakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Isotak Ocean 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
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