Scheidt, Sundby Follow Though on Expectations

Stuart Streuli

ATHENS--There were three gold medals that many experts felt were as good as decided on the eve of this Olympic regatta. Ben Ainslie, Robert Scheidt, and Siren Sundby had been so dominant in their classes--Finn, Laser, and Europe, respectively--that the pundits felt even the inconsistent and occasionally random wind conditions of the Saronic Gulf wouldn't be enough to dislodge any one of them from the top of their classes. Sometimes the experts are right. Despite a downright horrid start to his regatta, a ninth and a DSQ, Ainslie won the Finn gold on Saturday, and today Scheidt and Sundby secured their gold medals. "It was a very tense and a very full day today due to the wind and the sea conditions," said Scheidt. "We were on the water for quite some time." The Laser and Europe classes left the dock at the scheduled time. But the wind, which was unsettled for much of the afternoon, forced the race committee to abandon the first attempt to get the races off. Both fleets waited over two and a half hours for a second attempt, which was fortunately successful. Theoretically, any one of five sailors could've won the gold medal, but Scheidt had a solid edge in the standings. The Brazilian started cleanly, rounded the first mark in 10th, moved up to sixth by the finish and won his second Laser gold medal by 13 points over Andreas Gerizter of Austria. Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar won the bronze, his country's first sailing medal. Mark Mendelblatt of St. Petersburg, Fla., finished on a strong note, a ninth in the final race moving him up to eighth overall. Sundby's advantage heading into the race was more significant than Scheidt's, but the Norwegian sailor was carrying a DSQ from Race 3 and had to be really careful to avoid any major mistakes. Lurking in second was Lenka Smidova of the Czech Republic. But Sundby rounded the first mark smack in the middle of the fleet and stayed there. Since Smidova was also carrying a DSQ, there was little the Czech sailor could do from that point. Meg Gaillard of Jamestown, R.I., ended the regatta on a down note, finishing 19th in the final race and dropping to 14th overall. Among the U.S. sailors still alive for medals, Tornado sailors John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree had the best day. A first and a sixth put them in first overall after four races. This is the duo's third Olympics, but they'd never led an Olympic regatta until today. Ogletree refused to put too much stake in the accomplishment. "It's Day 2," he said. "The good news is we haven't sailed a throw out yet. That's what we talked about on the way in, that we have all keepers. Four races down and we haven't sailed a bad race yet." Lovell and Ogletree led the first race from wire to wire. But it was far from easy. The wind was quite hard to nail down. "We probably tacked more times in that first race than we've tacked all year in a Tornado," said Ogletree, allowing himself a little poetic license. "We may have tacked 10 times on the first beat, which is a lot for a Tornado. It's a lot for any boat." The second race was a different story. The U.S. team rounded the first mark in eighth. It was close to becoming a their first poor race. "We did a really good job for 75 percent of the race and passed boats and got all the way up to fourth," said Ogletree. "On the last beat we made a mistake and dropped to sixth. Those extra points would've been nice to have. Missed a shift on the last beat." At press time, a number of boats in the Tornado class had filed for redress in the first race. So the overall results could change if the committee decides to grant those requests or toss out the race. But for the moment, Lovell and Ogletree will sail tomorrow with the gold circle that signifies the overall regatta leader. Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter carried that circle today in the Star class, but unfortunately they had to give it up after a difficult day on the water.  "It was just a tough day," said Cayard, who was very even keeled after a 15th and a 10th. "A few bad decisions and a little bit of bad luck just went against us. We still had good speed and we were moving through the fleet in both cases." The day started well enough for Cayard with a solid start down at the leeward end. He worked the left side and was approaching the mark on port, but within the top five, when the wind went a little further left, and he found himself overstanding. A group of boats to leeward, that he'd been ahead of, suddenly became a factor. "When they were all lined up on starboard, I tacked under the Irish guy and he started screaming and yelling that I fouled him," said Cayard. "I didn't think I fouled him, but they just start screaming and yelling so you do the 720 to make sure there's no protest. While I was doing the 720, Iain Percy comes along, he's coming upwind on port, and he screams and yells at me that I fouled him while I was doing my circles so I did another 720. It's not the normal Star class here, that's one thing I've noticed. It's very cutthroat." After four circles, Cayard and Trinter found themselves in last, which was 15th at the time since two boats were OCS and didn't restart. He closed up on a number of boats over the next two runs and one beat, but then sailed into a huge hole on the right side of the course and finished 15th. In the second race Cayard and Trinter again found themselves at odds with the Irish team of Mark Mansfield and Killian Collins, both boats fighting for the pin-end start. Neither won. Cayard and Trinter were over early and had to restart and the Irish team had a poor start and rounded the first mark in 14th.  Cayard and Trinter fought back the entire race, getting to 10th by the second windward mark before dropping back to 14th and then battling back to 10th at the finish. They are now sixth overall The U.S. 49er team of Tim Wadlow and Peter Spaudling also fell from medal position, a 13th and an eighth dropped them from third to sixth. They have five races remaining. Results of Interest Men's Mistral (34 boards) Peter Wells (USA): (22, 20, 23, 16, 22, (29), 28, 24) 24th Women's Mistral (26 boards) Karla Barrera (PUR): ((26), 24, 25, 26, 23, 25, 26, 26) 26th Lanee Beashel (USA): (13, 16, 9, (18), 17, 14, 6, 14) tied on points for 16th Finn (25 boats) Racing Finished Richard Clarke (CAN): (10, 18, 15, 22, 19, 15, (OCS), 14, 8, 11, 2) 18th Ben Ainslie (GBR): (9, (DSQ), 1, 1, 4, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 14) first Dean Barker (NZL): (5, 10, 7, 11, 7, 16, (OCS), 12, 19, 20, 10) 13th Kevin Hall (USA): (11, 6, 13, (17), 16, 14, 13, 9, 9, 17, 7) 11th Europe (25 boats) Racing Finished Meg Gaillard (USA): (9, 11, 13, 9, 3, 13, 11 (16), 9 (19), 19) 14th Laser (42 boats) Racing Finished Robert Scheidt (BRA): (3, (8), 1, 3, 8, 4, (19), 12, 7, 3, 6) first Bernard Luttmer (CAN): (15, 25, 22, 21, 27, 33, 31, (DNF), 9, 32, 30) 29th Timothy Pitts (ISV): ((42), 40, 41, 40, 36, 39, 37, 34, 34, 40, 40) 41st Hamish Pepper (NZL): (24, 9, (26), 11, 9, 5, 13, 3, RDG/11.3, 2, 21) seventh Mark Mendelblatt (USA): (2, 14, 20, 6, 6, 10, (29), 22, 16. 6, 9) eighth Men's 470 (27 boats) Racing Finished Paul Foerster/Kevin Burnham (USA): (1, 8, 2, 15, 9, 4, 3, 7, 18, 4, (23)) first Women's 470 (20 boats) Racing Finished Jen Provan/Nikola Girke (CAN): (4, 13, 17, 11, 12, 7, 2, (19), 6, 19, 12) 13th Katie McDowell/Isabelle Kinsolving (USA): (12, 16, 3, 12, 9, 2, (18), 17, 8, 1, 4, ) fifth 49er (19 boats) Tim Wadlow/Pete Spaulding (USA): (7, 8, 5, (OCS), 9, 9, 8, 3, 1, (13), 8) sixth Tornado (17 boats) Oskar Johansson/John Curtis (CAN): (14, 15, 4, 13) 14th Enrique Figueroa/Jorge Hernandez (PUR): (5, 9, 7, 8) tied on points for fourth John Lovell/Charlie Ogletree (USA): (2, 2, 1, 6) first Star (17 boats) Peter Bromby/Lee White (BER): (17, 16, 8, 11) 16th Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira (BRA): (5, 4, 1, 1) first Ross MacDonald/Mike Wolfs (CAN): (7, 11, 4, 3) fourth Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter (USA): (1, 6, 15, 10) seventh Yngling (16 boats) Racing Finished Paula Lewin/Peta Lewin/Christine Patton (BER): (4, 15, 6, 13, (16), 14, 9, 16, 16, 11, 4) 15th Lisa Ross/Chantal Leger/Deirdre Crampton (CAN): (13, 9, (15), 15, 12, 12, 12, 14, 15, 2, 12) 16th Carol Cronin/Liz Filter/Nancy Haberland (USA): (2, 10, 16, 9, 15, 10, 1, 15, 7, 1, (OCS)) 10th