1 Gold, 3 Silvers for Australia’s Sailors at Rio
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Australia has finished the 2016 Rio Olympics with one Gold Medal and three Silver Medals out of the seven sailing classes it contested over the past two weeks.
In a tough series, the sailors at Rio had to compete in up to 12 races in conditions that ranged from light and variable to ‘waves as big as houses’.
Australia ended the regatta by winning two Silver Medals on the final day: Matt Belcher and Will Ryan in the men’s 470 class, and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er skiffs. Both Belcher and Outteridge/Jensen won gold in these classes at the London Games.
Today’s Silver Medals followed Tom Burton’s Gold Medal in the Laser class earlier in the week and the Silver Medal in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull class by cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin – missing Gold by just one point!
While not quite as good as London where the AUS sailors won three Gold Medals (Laser, 470 men and 49ers) and one Silver (women’s match racing in Elliott 6s), this has been a splendid overall team effort.
Two other competitors finished in the top ten in their class: Jake Lilley placing a luckless eighth overall in the Finn class and Ashley Stoddart fighting back to be ninth in the Laser Radials. Women’s 470 crew, Carrie Smith and Jaimie Ryan, finished 15th overall.
Australia did not contest the men’s and women’s sailboard classes nor the 49erFX class for women.
The 49erFX was one of the classes decided today with Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze winning Gold from just two seconds from the New Zealand crew. Martine is the daughter of Brazil’s multiple Olympic medallist and sailing legend Torben Grael.
The women’s 470 Gold Medal went to Great Britain with New Zealand taking the Silver. In the men’s 470 class, Croatia won its first ever sailing Gold, with Australia winning Silver.
For New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, today’s Medal Race for the 49ers was a victory lap, the Kiwis having won their regatta with two races to spare. Australia’s Outteridge and Jensen fought back in the Medal Race to take the Silver Medal.
“This is my third Olympics now and winning a gold and a silver out of three is a pretty good track record,” Outteridge said after the final race. “I am proud of the achievements that Iain and I have made together.”
Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan moved up a place to Silver despite Ryan losing his footing and briefly falling overboard. He pulled himself back on board the 470 with his trapeze handle and despite losing time they steered their boat across the line just six seconds before their Greek rivals to secure the Silver Medal.
World Sailing/Peter Campbell
19 August 2016