Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Giles Scott, Zsombor Berecz and Joan Cardona secure Finn medals at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

by Robert Deaves 3 Aug 2021 09:31 PDT 27 July - 3 August 2021
Happy medal winners - Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games © Robert Deaves

After an epic final Finn medal race, Giles Scott has won the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Hungary's Zsombor Berecz won the medal race to secure the silver while Spain's Joan Cardona did just enough to hang on to the bronze.

Despite one of the most stressful medal races ever, the top three remained the same. But it could have all been so very different...

Where can you even start to tell the story of the day with all its twists and turns and near calamities? It was a roller coaster to watch, never mind compete in.

Scott won the gold in possibly the hardest way imaginable. He mistakenly returned to the start thinking he was over, and restarted last, sailing the whole race playing catch up. For while it looked all over for him, but one thing we have learned about Scott is that it's never over until it's over. He doesn't give up and often finds a way back.

He didn't think he was over, but "I made the call to go back and then I had quite a lot on. I made it by the skin of my teeth, it was properly to the wire; it was really tight. I tried to stay relaxed. It was mine to lose, if it had been any other race there was no way I'd go back."

All week it's been about the far right and far left. Most of the fleet headed right, but with a lot of work to do, Scott headed left. He needed a big change to happen, and it did. A left shift moved him up to fourth at the top and the race was back on.

However he then dropped back to seventh at the gate and was still a distant sixth at the top mark again. The gold medal was going to Hungary unless he moved up.

At the end of the run he was still sixth, with barely 100 metres of race track left and still a lot of work to be done. But he made a clean inside rounding and picked off two more places before the finish.

"I knew down the last run I had to make good headway, but I made a few good calls and a few well times gybes, and just sneaked round that group. I just got round the outside of the group at the bottom and tried to stay relaxed down that final reach and not pick up a penalty.

"I thought I had messed it up all the way to the finish, but of course I never gave up, always kept pushing. I'm a realist at heart, but I can count."

He crossed in fourth to win gold by three points.

"I've certainly not been involved in any boat race as close as that."

For silver medallist Berecz, there was certainly less drama.

"It was very hard for me not to go back after the start. I saw Giles was going back and I was not sure because I had a pretty good start also. But I know that this was the only chance for me to take the gold. Of course of wanted to win the race but the focus for me was on getting a medal."

Berecz rounded the first mark in second behind Australia's Jake Lilley, who led until the final downwind. Then The Netherland's Nicholas Heiner came through downwind to lead at the final mark, before Berecz slid past to take the race win.

Meanwhile Cardona had a lot on to hang onto the bronze.

"I wanted to cover Josh [Junior] a bit and secure the medal as I knew he was the one closest to me. He went far right, so I just stayed on top of him. In the end the left paid better and then I was not trying to win the race, I was just trying to hold my position and if possible win the silver."

"On the last upwind I lost some control, and when I rounded second last before the last downwind, I said to myself, just send it, go as fast as you can and let's see what happens. It's probably my last downwind in the Finn and I have to perform at my best."

He moved up to seventh at the gate and crossed the finish in sixth to win the bronze.

"I think the medal race showed how close the Finn fleet is, and how competitive it is. We were pushing until the end. It was a really nice last downwind for me. I managed to climb back to the medal position so I am super happy."

Cardona explained what the medal meant to him.

"It's amazing. I don't know how to describe it in words. I see how much I have made people happy who believed in me, and so many people back in Spain are cheering for me.

"I think not many people thought I could come here and win a medal and I proved I could. People were saying the pressure would get too much, but I just came here as probably my last chance in the Olympics and I had to give it all, and I am stoked with the results."

Berecz now becomes the most successful Hungarian Olympic sailor in history.

"In Hungary we don't get many medals. The last one was 41 years ago and so I know I had big pressure, as I believed it will change sailing in Hungary. I will be in the first line to help the new generation to show that even without the sea we can succeed even though we only have lakes.

He also goes down in history as being the winner of the last Olympic Finn race.

"It's a great moment but on the other had it's also quite sad to see that our class is now out from the Games. For me I probably would not continue even if it was in, but seeing the young generation, especially the Spanish guy - we have trained together for last few years and he is such a talented guy - most likely with a bronze medal at such a young age, he will have no other chance to compete at the Olympics. I think this is a sad moment for the class, but I believe the class without the Olympics is still going to be still the strongest. It's such a nice family and you'll never get that in the Olympics any more."

Scott concluded, "I've been sailing again for three and bit months, and I've been on something of a timed run and it's something my coach Matt Howard and I have really been trying to hold on to, that we are on a trajectory and that the target is the Olympics. We've had a few wobbles along the way but we've done it when we needed to.

"That was the greatest pressure of my career. It climbed throughout the race - that was full on."

British sailors have now won the past six Finn gold medals at the Olympic Games, from Iain Percy in 2000, through Ben Ainslie from 2004-2012 and Scott in 2016.

"I'm so proud, there is such heritage in the Finn and it's a shame it's leaving the Games. To follow legends like Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie, they were my heroes growing up. This continues our domination and closes it out, we've won every gold since 2000; we own it."

It was perhaps the end of an era on Tuesday in Enoshima as while the medalists celebrated their achievement, it was tempered with the knowledge that there will be no more Finn racing at the Olympics. As the last boat crossed the finish line, the Finn class's near 70-year era as the greatest and longest continuous Olympic class was over. Long live the Finn.

Full results can be found here.

Related Articles

Finn Gold Cup at Malcesine overall
Pieter-Jan Postma makes history by winning first Finn Gold Cup for The Netherlands Pieter-Jan Postma, from The Netherlands, made history today by winning the 2022 Finn Gold Cup, the first Dutch winner of this massively prestigious trophy in its 66 year history. Posted on 22 May
Finn Gold Cup at Malcesine day 4
Postma dominates to retake the lead Pieter-Jan Postma, from The Netherlands, found second gear today to dominate the 110 boat fleet from 17 nations on the fourth day of the Finn Gold Cup at Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy. Posted on 21 May
Finn Gold Cup at Malcesine day 3
Oskari Muhonen moves into the lead on Lake Garda After three very different races, Finland's Oskari Muhonen has taken the lead at the 2022 Finn Gold Cup at Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy. He won two more races to take a three point lead from Pieter-Jan Postma, from The Netherlands. Posted on 19 May
Finn Gold Cup at Malcesine day 2
Pieter-Jan Postma is early leader Pieter-Jan Postma, from The Netherlands, is the early leader of the thrilling 2022 Finn Gold Cup at Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy, after three finntastic races in a 10-14 knot southerly on Wednesday. Posted on 18 May
Ronstan Finn UK Nationals at the WPNSA
A strong turnout of 40 helms race in Portland Harbour A strong turnout of 40 Finns gathered at WPNSA for the 2022 Ronstan UK National Championships. The growing popularity of the class was evidenced by the presence of several top returning Finnsters, including multiple Endeavour Trophy champion Nick Craig. Posted on 18 May
Finn Gold Cup at Malcesine day 1
Peler dies away, and Ora refuses to build enough for racing The famous Garda wind machine broke down today and the 111 Finn sailors at the Finn Gold Cup at Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy, will have to wait for another day to begin this long-heralded restart of elite Finn sailing. Posted on 17 May
Roland Fournier on the 2022 U.S. Finn Nationals Ch
An interview with Roland Fournier on the 2022 U.S. Finn National Championships Sail-World checked in with Roland Fournier, event chair of the 2022 U.S. Finn National Championships, via email, to learn more about this exciting One Design event. Posted on 17 May
109 Finns ready for Finn Gold Cup at Malcesine
Sailors from 19 nations have gathered on Lake Garda, Italy One hundred and nine Finns from 19 nations have gathered at Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy for the 2022 Finn Gold Cup. Ten races are scheduled over the next five days to determine the 2022 Finn World Champion. Posted on 16 May
2022 Finn Gold Cup opens on Sunday in Malcesine
The class is determined to maintain the Finn Gold Cup as its pinnacle event One of the most coveted trophies in the sport of sailing will be raced for next week at Fragila Vela Macesine on Lake Garda, Italy. The 2022 Finn Gold Cup opens on Sunday with an impressive 110 entries from 23 nations so far. Posted on 12 May
Sailor passes away at BFA Finn Masters 2022 event
Keyhaven Yacht Club are incredibly saddened to report the death of a visiting sailor Keyhaven Yacht Club are incredibly saddened to report the death of a visitor, who was competing in the prestigious UK Masters Championships & BFA Finn Masters 2022 event. Posted on 3 May
North Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTERUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTER