Olympic and sailing history was made today on the waters off of Weymouth, UK on the Nothe racecourse as the Star class contested their last Olympic race, at least for the foreseeable future. Sweden’s Frederik Loof and Max Salminen claimed Gold, sailing an impeccable, tactically brilliant race that kept Great Britain’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson from securing their third Olympic Gold. Instead, Percy and Simpson had to settle for a Silver medal, while the always-quick Brazilian team of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada will take home a Bronze medal.
Mediterranean-like conditions and the roar of an engaged crowd greeted the sailors on the always-difficult, always-tactical Nothe course today. While the hometown crowds rooted and roared for their favorite Star team, ultimately, the Swedes proved quicker.
Loof is a longtime Olympic contender, having previously won two Bronze medals. Now, the Swedes get to stand atop the podium in one of the most competitive classes.
Close analysis of the race reveals that Team Great Britain (Team GBR) and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada spent much of the race trying to best each other, as both teams were considered favorites going into today’s medal race. Unfortunately for both the Brits and the Brazillians, this intense inner focus/rivalry opened a gap that Loof and Salminen fully leveraged, sailing to Gold in what could well prove to be the final Olympic showing for this historic race.
Despite sailing fast and smart for almost all of the race, the colors of the medals were decided by the final few hundred meters of the racecourse, as Team GBR slipped further astern of the Swedes, sealing the deal.
Throughout the race, much focus was placed on Percy and Simpson, as the two British sailors needed to secure a sixth-place (or better) finish to claim Gold, but it was not to be as they ultimately crossed the line in eighth place. For Team Great Britain (Team GBR), their silver medal rang hollow, as exemplified by their body language immediately after crossing the line. While both sailors were utterly professional in ex post facto TV interviews, there’s no question that theirs was a boat laden with disappointment as Team GBR’s Star representatives sailed back ashore.
Please stay tuned for more details from this race, as well as the sailor’s interviews.
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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12:57 PM Sun 5 Aug 2012GMT
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