Skandia Team GBR - They delivered
by Gerald New on 23 Aug 2008
Britain's sailing team - Skandia Team GBR - surpassed their medal total at the Athens and Sydney Games when Percy and Simpson won Britain's sixth sailing medal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This total in Qingdao equals the that of the British sailing team at the 1908 London Games.
This gold for the Star pair was the icing on the cake already groaning with Gold for Ben Ainslie in the Finn, Gold for the Yngling trio Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson and Gold for Paul Goodison in the Laser. Plus the Silver for Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield in the men's 470 and a Bronze for Bryony Shaw on the RS:X, Britain was once again top Olympic sailing nation.
Undoubtedly this success will raise the bar for the British sailing team at the 2012 London Games.
What more can the RYA extract from their squad? Britain fielded sailors in all of the final Medal races, they won twice as many gold medals as the next nation and twice as many medals in total. Apart from Australia, who won two golds, no other nation won more than one - Britain won four golds.
But there were some near misses!
Nick Dempsey fell from silver position to fourth in the Medal race and the 49er pair, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes had a poor series for them, they suffered one bad day and were not able to recover.
Undoubtably some of this team will want to compete in 2012 on home ground, but the RYA will have to avoid relying on the old guard at the expense of new blood. Ainslie and Percy have each done three Olympics and with evermore professional sailing bound to come calling, will they be able to face the rigours of continuous training and racing on the enlarged ISAF small boat circuit?
But, the success of this team and the high profile they have achieved for the sport will lead to more youngsters (and their parents) deciding that sailing is the future, and that will be good for Britain in 2012 and good for the sport at all levels - Skandia Team GBR delivered.
The Team GBR medal winners 2008
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