Paul Goodison has won Laser class gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Qingdao today (Tuesday 19 August), Britain’s third sailing gold of the Games and fourth medal in total for the sport.
Four-time European champion Goodison, who finished fourth on his Olympic debut at Athens 2004, lead the fleet by 18 points going into today’s double points medal race meaning as long as the Brit did not finish 10th and last in the race and second-placed Swede Rasmus Myrgren win it, the Olympic crown would be Goodison’s.
Goodison made no mistake in sealing the biggest prize of them all in light winds, sailing the Swede to the back of the fleet at the start and pinning him there throughout the race, stopping Myrgren have any chance of reaching the front and threatening gold.
Goodison finished the race in ninth and Myrgren 10th for Goodison to be crowned Olympic champion with 63 points, eight points ahead of silver medallist Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) with Italian Diego Romero taking bronze. Myrgren finished sixth overall.
Goodison said: 'It’s just absolutely amazing, it might not have been the best way to do it but with the conditions being so tricky, it was the best way of making sure of gold.
'It’s been a testing week but I hung in there and delivered yesterday, which made it a bit easier today.
'Athens was really hard and this is for everyone who has been through it all with me. I’m so pleased my mum could be here with me and also for my dad who was watching back home on the television.
'You come to every Olympic Games trying to do your best and fortunately this time I’m on top of the table. It just feels unbelievable and it’s going to take a while to sink in, it’s just amazing. With London 2012 just around the corner, it would be an amazing opportunity to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games in Britain.'
Sailing Team Manager Stephen Park was delighted for Goodison. 'The Laser fleet is so competitive right now, so this medal is fantastic and really has been a long time coming for Paul.
'Having been training partner for the Sydney Games, and then finishing fourth in Athens, for Paul to finally get an Olympic medal – and particularly a gold one – is just fantastic.
'I’m also really pleased for Paul’s coach, Chris Gowers – he’s been a huge help, not only to Paul but to the whole of the rest of the team over a number of years, so I’m delighted for him that he’s now a gold-medal winning coach.'
Goodison’s is Britain’s fourth sailing medal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Ben Ainslie (Finn) and Yngling trio Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson winning gold on Sunday and Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield clinching 470 men’s silver yesterday (Monday).