London Olympics 2012- Sailing News - Day 13 ANZAC Benefit
by Richard Gladwell, Olympic Editor on 11 Aug 2012
After yesterday's cancellation of racing due to insufficient breeze, today was a double-final in the Mens and Womens Two Handed Event, sailed in the 470 class.
Malcolm Page does a back flip off the Australian Mens 470 celebrating their Gold Medal win - the Silver Medalist (GBR) are yet to finish © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com
Despite being close or tied on the points, going into today's racing, it proved to be an Anzac benefit, with both Australian and New Zealand crews winning the Gold Medals. The British - once the powerhouse of Olympic sailing - finished second in both.
That last comment is probably the feature of this regatta - being the rise of Australia, who will leave the regatta as the most successful nation - winning three Gold medals, despite of entering only eight of the ten events.
There is a distinct possibility of the Australians winning another Gold medal tomorrow, Saturday, in the last event of the regatta, the Womens Match Racing or Elliott 6's as they call them here in Weymouth Media Centre.
Regardless of the outcome tomorrow of the Elliotts, Australia will come away with a record of three Gold medals and a Silver or Four Golds. That is a hell of a strike rate on just eight events (62.5% for the train-spotters).
Yachting has easily become Australia’s most successful Olympic sport and should reap a substantial funding boost as a result.
New Zealand too, has come away from this regatta with their tails up, with a win in the Womens Two Hander (470) today, to sit alongside their Silver Medal in the Mens Skiff (49er) two days ago.
That is seven medals for the Antipodes out of the 30 on offer (23.3% for the train-spotters).
While the nightie ripping looks set to start in the US camp - and other countries which feel they have underperformed - remember that both the Down Under Darlings from this regatta came away from the 2004 Athens Olympics empty handed. That was despite the Australians having three current world champions in their team.
The point being that the soul-searching (a much more productive exercise than having a witch-hunt), does often reveal the short comings in a country’s approach – which can be rectified within two Olympic cycles.
Today was historic on both sides of the Tasman.
While much was made of Ben Ainslie’s four Gold medal wins earlier in the week, but today's achievement of coach Victor Kovalenko (Australia) in winning six Olympic Gold medals passed relatively un-noticed. Kovalenko’s specialty is the 470 class and he has coached sailors to wins for his native Ukraine and adopted Australia.
This Olympic regatta has been the first since 1992 when the New Zealanders have won an Olympic sailing medal in classes other than windsurfers.
Today was the first time that New Zealand has won a Gold medal in a two handed monohull since 1964, and is only the third Gold medal that the Kiwis have won in crewed monohull dinghies.
Tomorrow the 2012 Sailing Olympics conclude with the Finals of the Elliott 6’s off the Nothe Stadium course.
If the promised weather eventuates, there will be action aplenty, we’ll be reporting again tomorrow night.
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