More Medals Decided at Rio Games

Published on August 14th, 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 14, 2016) – As the RS:X fleets did battle in their Medal Races, the Finns, 470s, and Nacra 17 fleets continued their racing across Rio de Janeiro. Giles Scott (GBR) has won gold in the Finn with a race to spare. The reigning Olympic Champions in the Men’s and Women’s 470s are struggling to defend their titles. And the oldest sailor in the competition is showing his young Nacra 17 rivals the way round the track.

Heavyweight Men’s One Person Dinghy – Finn
Giles Scott (GBR) won the gold medal in the Finn without needing to contest the Medal Race on Tuesday. The four-time and reigning World Champion was always expected to dominate the competition in Rio but where other favorites have faltered at this tricky venue, the Great Briton has delivered exactly what was expected of him. An eighth and second place from Sunday’s races on the Niterói course were sufficient to give him the winning margin.

For the 28-year-old, this has been a long time coming. Many believed he would have won gold four years earlier at London 2012, but he had to bide his time as Ben Ainslie earned selection ahead of him and went on to win his fourth Olympic gold in a tense Medal Race where the outcome of the medals was in doubt until the very last second.

No such doubt for Scott, who has avoided having to earn his gold medal on the vagaries of the fluky Medal Race course under the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain. Even the usually invincible Briton looked mortal as he opened his Olympic campaign with a 17th place on the Sugarloaf course earlier in the week. Since then however, Scott has scored seven of the ten qualifying races inside the top three, and three of those were race wins.

Scott doesn’t normally show much emotion, but today he did. “I know what it meant to me because of the way it made me feel towards the last stages of that final race. I just found myself welling up and in tingles as it slowly dawned on me what I’d done. I wouldn’t put myself down as the emotional sort but I had a little cry to myself which I like to think I don’t do that often. Just the emotions that come out of you in that situation you can’t prepare yourself for. It’s been amazing.

“When we put the campaign together after London, Matt [Howard], my coach and I we decided that we wanted to campaign flat out. We weren’t going to go soft in any regattas and everything we went to, we wanted to win and win it in style.

“That approach is great but it does put a target on your back. Especially two or three years out that target inevitably gets closer as everybody ups their game. To have been able to maintain that gap enough into the Olympics with a race to spare – it gives great justification to those decisions earlier on.”

While others might not be that surprised at the level of Scott’s dominance, he certainly was. “If you’d have asked me, would I have won the Olympic Games before the Medal Race in Rio? I’d have said absolutely not because of the venue that it is. The racing that we’ve had this week I’ve managed to sail more consistently. It’s such a privileged situation to be in because the two days from now, everybody else is going to be fighting it out for those medals. It’s going to be incredibly stressful and to be able to say I’m not going to have to go through that is pretty nice.”

With a 24-point lead over second place, Scott will sail Tuesday’s Medal Race as a formality. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) holds a 13 point lead over Ivan Gaspic (CRO), which sets up the Slovenian nicely for the silver medal, while the Croatian will have to be mindful of the fourth and fifth placed sailors, Caleb Paine (USA) and Max Salminen (SWE) in the fight for the remaining medals.

Caleb Paine (USA) earned race scores of 10,4 on Sunday, and has earned a berth in the Finn class medal race, reserved for the top ten competitors in the men’s heavyweight one-person dinghy. “It’s been a regatta of ups and downs,” said Paine. “There is still a lot of sailing to be had, and I’m looking forward to finishing it off and hopefully getting a medal in the end.”

Paine, a first-time Olympian, will enter the medal race on Tuesday in 4th place overall, and just five points behind Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) who is currently in bronze medal position. Based on the current scores, Paine has a shot at both the silver and bronze medal based on the outcome of the medal race, which counts for double points. “I’ve always come from behind, and I never stop fighting regardless of whatever situation I’m in,” said Paine. “I’m looking forward to rolling into the medal race as prepared as possible, and hopefully we’ll get it done.”

Results, Finn – Top 5 (10 races, 1 discard)
Giles Scott (GBR) 32 points
Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) 56
Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) 54
Caleb Paine (USA) 74
Max Salminen (SWE) 74

Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X
Pierre Le Coq (FRA) has won the bronze medal for France after a fierce battle in the Medal Race for the Men’s Windsurfer (RS:X). Racing in 10-knot winds, the fleet of 10 windsurfers blasted up the race track in front of a crowd of spectators on Flamengo Beach, with the top of the course set in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) took the lead on the last lap and won the race easily, the Dutchman cementing his status as the 2016 Olympic Champion. Nick Dempsey (GBR) crossed the line in fourth place, his silver already secure. But the battle for third was raging at the back of the fleet and Le Coq did enough to overtake the reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) in the second half of the race, to win the bronze medal.

Gold Medal – Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED)
Silver Medal – Nick Dempsey (GBR)
Bronze Medal – Pierre Le Coq (FRA)

Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X
Of the ten competitors in the double-points final, seven had a shot at gold. Picon started badly but moved through to second by the first mark. Meanwhile Peina Chen (CHN) had another gear downwind and shot up from sixth to second by the bottom of the first lap. China looked set to take the gold from France, but Picon held on in the light winds to the finish to secure the Olympic title, with Chen settling for silver. Lillian de Geus (NED) sailed an excellent Medal Race to cross the line in first place just in front of Picon, and had an anxious wait to see if she had done enough for bronze.

Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) had a shocking start, being given a double penalty turn for infringing Bryony Shaw (GBR) at the start line. But the 19-year-old Russian rallied to seventh place and just edged out Lillian de Geus (NED) for the bronze.

Gold Medal – Charline Picon (FRA)
Silver Medal – Peina Chen (CHN)
Bronze Medal – Stefania Elfutina (RUS)

Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have extended their lead over arch-rivals Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS). Once again, whatever the wildly variable conditions in Rio can throw at the Croatians, they seem to have an answer and today the result was 3,4 for Croatia, 8,10 for Australia. With an 11-point gap between them, Belcher will really need to turn it on for the final three qualifying races if he’s to retain his Olympic crown.

London 2012 silver medalist Luke Patience (GBR) and his crew Chris Grube had a torrid time of the racing, picking up a UFD disqualification followed by a 20th place, which has dropped the British from third to tenth overall. This moves Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) up to third.

Three-time Olympian Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) earned finishes of 7,6 on Sunday, moving them up to 6th overall and 10 points from 3rd. The veteran team showed resilience on Day 6, climbing from 19th position to 7th in the first race of the day. “At this stage, every point is critical for keeping us in the hunt,” said McNay. “We’re just trying to fight like animals out there to pass as many boats as possible.”

Jacob Chaplin-Saunders and Graeme Chaplin-Saunders (CAN) finished 14, 17 and remain in 22nd place.

Results, 470 Men – Top 5 (7 races, 1 discard)
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) 14 points
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) 25
Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) 32
Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) 36
Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstaedter (AUT) 42

Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) won race six of the Women’s 470 only to discover they had been UFD disqualified for crossing the start line too soon. Having already picked up a disqualification from race one, the reigning Olympic Champions now have a mountain to climb if they’re to win a repeat gold.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) continue to hold the lead, although the team now closest to them are the Americans four points back, Anne Haeger and Brian Provancha (USA). Third place is held by Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO), although just a point behind are reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) and a point further behind the French are Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN).

First-time Olympians Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) had scores of 5, 2 for the day, and now stand in 2nd place overall in the 20-boat fleet. “In the first race we struggled a bit early on, but once we got into open space on the racecourse, we were able to get back on track,” said Haeger. “Overall, we’re happy with our day.”

Results, 470 Women – Top 5 (7 races, 1 discard)
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) 20 points
Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) 24
Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) 33
Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) 34
Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) 36

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) have won the qualifying series in the Nacra 17 fleet after rounding off their scores with a second and first place. This means that Lange, the oldest competitor in the Olympic sailing competition at 57, holds a five point lead over Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) going into Tuesday’s Medal Race.

There are seven teams with a shot at gold, the others being AUT, AUS, NZL, SUI and FRA. Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) couldn’t follow up with the quite the stellar performance of the previous day, yet the four-time World Champions do have the slimmest of opportunities to come away with the Olympic title. That would be quite a turnaround after the week Besson has endured with his painful and debilitating back injury.

Bori Gulari and Louisa Chafee (USA) Nacra 17 submitted a strong day of racing on Sunday, with scores of 9,8,3 in three races, to earn a place in the Nacra 17 class medal race. This is the first career Team USA appearance for both Gulari and Chafee, and the first Olympic Games in which the high-speed, gender-mixed catamaran has been used. “Throughout the day of racing, we actually didn’t want to know what [the points] were looking like,” said Chafee. “We knew that if we just went out there relaxed and had fun, good things would happen.” Gulari and Chafee are not in mathematical contention for a medal, but could rise as high as 5th overall based on the outcome of the medal race.

Luke Ramsey and Nikola Girke (CAN) are in 15th place after their finishes today of 12, 17, 9.

Results, Nacra 17 Mixed – Top 5 (12 races, 1 discard)
Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) 65
Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) 70
Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) 72
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 74
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) 79

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Source: World Sailing

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