Anna Tunnicliffe won the USA's first gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition following a magnificent comeback in the Laser Radial Medal Race held today.
At one stage in today’s Medal Race Anna Tunnicliffe had fallen back to ninth but she battled back, reading a big shift on the second upwind leg and eventually crossing the finishing line in second place to secure the gold medal. Aged just 25, the world #1 skipper can now add Olympic gold to her list of achievements.
After sailing back along the breakwater at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center to cheers of delight from the US supporters, Tunnicliffe was elated as she returned to the boatpark. 'This is phenomenal. It is absolutely unbelievable. This is my first Olympics and first medal. I’ve been wanting this for many years. It’s a dream come true,' she said.
Gintare Volungeviciute (LTU) won the Medal Race to take silver. For the first half of the race she had been in a gold medal winning position, but despite coming so close to Olympic victory she was still delighted with her success, not least becoming the first Lithuanian to ever to win a medal in sailing at the Olympic Games,
'I’m very proud of myself. I’m also very happy to get the first Olympic sailing medal for my country. I have to say Anna is the strongest. I’m very satisfied with my result. I want to thank my coach. He’s been with me for 12 years. Without him I would not be here today,' Volungevuciute said.
The bronze medal went to Lijia Xu of China, the first medal for the host nation in this year’s Olympic Sailing Competition. Xu, the 2006 World Champion, came third in today’s Medal Race to secure herself a place on the Olympic podium. http://www.sailing.org