Friday, 24 August 2007

Nailbiting showdowns in Qingdao

Whatever has been said about the concept of the Medal Race - and it has taken plenty of stick over the past year - it threw up some incredibly nailbiting conclusions in the Olympic Test Regatta in Qingdao.

On the final day, Paul Goodison (photo courtesy of OnEdition) scored a lowly 7th out of 10 in the Laser Medal Race, just holding off the 8th placed boat by three seconds. Goodison clinched gold by a point - and those vital three seconds - from Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren.

On the previous day, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes potentially through away their 49er gold medal when they hit the windward mark while lying in fourth. Taking a 360 penalty was the last thing they needed in 15 to 18 knots, and a washing machine chop driven by a wind-against-tide scenario. Fortunately that same washing machine chop was causing problems for a few of their rivals. Down the final run to the finish, the Brits took four places thanks to a few capsizes - although they had a full wobble on through their own final gybe - before crossing the line in 4th place. It was enough to give them gold, again by a single point from the Spanish reigning Olympic Champions, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez.

Even Ben Ainslie had to rely on the misfortunes of others in the Finn finale. There were capsizes in that fleet too, not least Ivan Gaspic's final-gybe capsize just 200 metres from the finish. He could have won gold, but that capsize relegated the Croatian out of the medal zone altogether. He finished 4th overall.

It was a phenomenal performance by the Brits, even by their high standards. Five golds and one silver across 11 disciplines. Not too bad by the antipodeans either, with the Aussies scooping two golds, a silver and bronze; the Kiwis were third overall with one gold and two silvers. For the full medal table and a good wrap-up report, look at ISAF's website.


Bunty said...

Haven't been onto your blog for a long long time. Valencia must of been great fun. Nice to have had one of our local Maltese sailors amongst the Americas Cup onboard Capitalia. Will you be covering the Rolex Middle Sea Race?

Andy said...

Hi Bunty, yes, Valencia was great fun. Would love to cover the Rolex Middle Sea Race again this year, but don't think it will happen. Hope to get there next year though. Had a great time working at that event in 2006. Regards to Georges and the gang.