2008 Beijing Olympic Games - XXIX OLYMPIAD
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Olympic Race Report 13 & Summary

Stormy end to Olympic sailing events...

21:08:08 The Star and Tornado are the final two events that bring the 2008 Beijing Olympic sailing competition to a successful conclusion. There is a stiff 15 to 20 knot East South Easterly blowing with occasional rain squalls to give the Tornado fleet a great ending to their Olympic careers and remind organisers of what they will be missing out on at future events.

In the Star class five of the top six going into medal race have stood on the podium before. In the Tornado class the Argentinean team medalled in 2004 and the Aussie team scored in 2000. In both classes no teams go into the medal race with a significant points advantage to have guaranteed themselves a medal. They all know what they need to do and like the crash and burn 49er's medal race this final also has all the ingredients to produce an almighty 'Clash of the Titans'.

Star Medal Race
The Brit's tried to shut out the Swede's at the boat end and start one length in front. Brazil is the most leeward boat at the start and proceed on out to the left with Poland, NZ and Portugal. The Swede's go right for clear wind followed by the bulk of the fleet. Brit's stay left and when they come back for the first cross the Swede's have gained a slight advantage. Brazil hold onto the left the longest and approach the first mark in the lead followed by NZ, Switzerland and Portugal. The Swede's round just in front of the Brit's in fifth and sixth respectively.

Brazil has fast downwind speed and the places change behind with every surge forward. The Brit's close into second place with the Swede's hot on their tail in third. The three leaders stick together and go left. The Brit's cover the Swede's every tack but it is the boats that went right that make the most gains. Poland hits the lead and surges downwind to win the race. Brazil's Robert Scheidt & Bruno Prada climb back to third place which elevates them to second overall and the silver medal. All eyes where on the British pair Iain Percy & Andrew Simpson who where steadily picking of the boats to sneak back to fifth place and earn themselves a gold medal. Sweden's Fredick Loof & Anders Ekstrom started the day as the overnight leader but somehow on the second upwind got dumped down to tenth and finished in last place. However they had done enough in the earlier races to hold onto third overall and take home the bronze medal.

Tornado Medal Race
Most skippers took advantage of the port tack bias except for the Greeks who came slicing through on starboard and looked a bit out of control, only to retire in the latter stages. Canada, Britain, Spain and Italians go right. Aussie's are the only ones that stay on the left. Brit's did the best of the right hand boats. When they come back together the Spanish and Brit's cross in front of the Aussie's. At the top mark its Spain, GBR, Canada, Italy and the Aussie's well back in ninth place. On the hairy downwind slide the Brit's take over the lead from the Spanish, the Germans capsize, Canadians slip into second and the Aussie's get a bit of a hurry on and are back to fifth place. Upwind the middle order changes with every crossing. The Brit's hold firm to win the race from the Canadians and the Dutch. Fourth place for Spaniards
Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz and in front of the Aussie's gives them the Gold medal. The Aussie's Bundock and Ashbyclung on for the silver medal as did the Argentinean's Santiago Lange & Carlos Espinola for the bronze medal. The top three finished up in the same overall order as they started the day.

Take away all the pomp and ceremony of the Olympic games and the event basically comes down to the sailors and there on the water activities. The Olympic status adds the glamour and prestige to lift it above "Just Another Regatta". All the medal winners are extremely
happy to have won their medals, which ever metal they are and stand on the podium in front of the media glare for their moment of glory. This will be remembered for a life time and long after the sailing action is forgotten.

So what have we learned from all this? What is the best way to go about winning a medal at this level? Some teams that won medals did not win races and other teams that won races did not win medals. The tricky wind conditions in Qingdao requires sailors to posses all-round sailing skills and avoid bad scores rather than winning individual races. In a fleet where competitors have a big performance difference - consistency, consistency and consistency has proved crucial this week and has resulted in winning medals. This advice is relevant at all regattas including club level racing.

Photo Gallery Days 10 - 14 Medal presentation ceremonies and press conferences can be found online at: http://asianyachting.com/photos/photo.htm?Olympics3

Photos Gallery for Days 4 - 9 now online at: http://asianyachting.com/photos/photo.htm?Olympics2
hotos Gallery for Days 1 - 3 now online at: http://asianyachting.com/photos/photo.htm?Olympics1

Full results and further roundups on the ISAF microsite at: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/Olympicshome.php



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