Two of Britain’s best Olympic teams go for Gold - It simply couldn’t be better
A script worthy of Danny Boyle for the first day of medal racing in front of the first ever paying Olympic audience.
Two of the biggest names in British Olympic sailing will be heading out onto the stage in their quests for Gold. Neither is guaranteed the top slot, each has to fight for success. It simply couldn’t be better.
“Win lose or draw it is going to be an incredible day,” said Star skipper Iain Percy.
He and his crew Andrew Simpson are first up today, starting at 1300 and are serious prospects for Gold in the Star class. Going into the medal race all of the top three have a shot at Gold and all three are clearly capable of it. The quickfire 30 minute inshore course is notorious for its snakes and ladders thanks to the shifty wind conditions. Having said that, the breeze is forecast to be in the south and 10-12 knots today which will make it slightly more stable in direction.
To succeed and take their second Olympic Gold in this class, Percy and Simpson have to finish no worse than 4th if Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada win and 6th if Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen win.
In the second race of the day Big Ben trails the Great Dane Jonas Hogh-Christenesen by just one place as they go into the medal race. In third place Holland’s Pieter Jan Postma also has a shot at Gold if he can win the race with Ainslie 8th and/or the Dane in 9th.
But few doubt that most attention will be focussed on Ainslie and Hogh-Christenesen. Whovever beats who, assuming they’re not down the pan, will take Gold.
Ainslie is famous for his match racing antics in the Olympics, indeed it is what made his name. On past performance here’s what could be in store. Ainslie could go for Christensen in the pre-start as a penalty here can only be cleared after the gun has gone. But he will also be keen to keep an eye on the rest of the fleet.
Match racing will be a possibility throughout the race but this one is different in that I suspect there Ainslie would also and for once, like to win the race as well as winning Gold. Success in front of a home crowd on the day that most likely marks the end of his Olympic career, would be a spectacular way to go out.
There is just one other thought, are there others in the fleet who would prefer to see Ben beaten?
Iain Percy talked of the mutual respect among sailors within the Star fleet, the Finns on the other hand have already displayed that this is a very different fleet.
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