Afternoon Tea, 2012 Olympics, Day 9
The Olympic regatta is dwindling quickly. Two more medal races today means there are only six fleets still racing. Tom Slingsby, of Australia, got redemption from four years ago when he went into the Olympics as the reigning Laser world champ and went home 22nd. He did what he had to do, held back Pavlos Kontides, of Cyprus, enough to ensure he couldn’t pass him in the overall standings. Kontides still got the first-ever Olympic medal for Cyprus. And at just 22, there’s probably more hardware down the road for this small island nation.
Rasmus Mygren, of Sweden, was able to keep Tonci Stipanović, of Croatia, at bay to win the bronze. It was a redemptive moment for Mygren as well. He entered the medal race in Qingdao in silver and was quickly matched raced into fifth place by Paul Goodison. This time, Mygren did the match racing and will go home with a medal.
The Laser Radial race was the one to watch. Four women were in contention for a medal, and the order in which they crossed the finish line would determine who got what medals, and who went home empty handed. The latter wound up being Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, the 22-year-old who so dominated the first races of the regatta, but struggled downwind as the regatta progressed. On the three-lap course, she rounded the windward mark in first, second, and fourth, but was ninth and fifth at the two leeward marks and fifth at the finish, one spot behind Evi Van Acker, of Belgium, who took the bronze. The gold went to Lijia Xu, of China, who simply sailed away from the fleet. Marit Bouwmeester, of the Netherlands took the silver. Paige Railey moved up one place, to eighth, in the overall standings, thanks to a sixth in the medal race. She was disappointed with her performance, lamenting her performance downwind, and also on the shifty, puffy Portland Harbour and Nothe courses. She also said she’s already set her sights on Rio in 2016, most likely in the Radial again.
The 49ers concluded their full fleet regatta today, with Australia locking up the gold and New Zealand the silver. The fight for bronze involves six boats. The United States will not be one of them. Erik Storck and Trevor Moore had the sort of up-and-down day that typified their regatta. An eighth in Race 1, and 17th in Race 2, leaves them in 15th place. They were are high as fourth in the first race, and were looking quite good halfway up the beat on the second, but couldn’t convert those positions into good finishes.
The Men’s 470 also sailed two races today. Like the U.S. 49er team, the American duo of Stu McNay and Graham Biehl was inconsistent. They recorded a solid sixth and an 18th. They are 17th in the regatta with two races remaining. The medal race is realistically, if not mathematically, out of reach.