Goodison delivers a gold for the UK, Tunnicliffe takes one for the USA Matthew Sheahan reports


Winning an Olympic medal in the world’s most popular class takes time. For Goodison, 14 years, during which he has experienced the extremes. Twice crowned European Champion and a second at the worlds are among the peaks in an extremely long list of events, a fourth at Athens in 2004 his low point. Today was very different.

“It’s been a long four years waiting, but it’s finally over and I can’t wait to be on that podium receiving my medal,” he said.

His team mates had given him a hero’s welcome, raising him and his boat on their shoulders and carrying their latest Olympic champion ashore, a repeat of the reception that had greeted his former training partner, Ben Ainslie when he won his gold medal in the class in Sydney.

The relief was clear to see in his face as he walked up the slipway on a day that nearly didn’t happen thanks to the worryingly light breeze that was forecast.

Indeed, such conditions meant that Goodison believed he had little option but to target his closest opponent of the day, Rasmus Myrgren, the only man capable of derailing his dream and ensure that he finished in front of him. A strategy that received plenty of comment after it drove the Swede from his silver medal position to sixth overall.

“I feel sorry for him, but that’s sport, you have to do what you have to do,” said Goodison when asked how he felt about his tactics.

Few British supporters at least would criticise him for this, after all Ainslie had camped on his nearest competitor in similar conditions in the Finn medal race before the drifting match conditions forced an abandonment. At that point USA silver medallist Zach Railey, who like Myrgren was also forced into last place, was only assured of his medal position at that point because of the underachievement of others elsewhere in the fleet. The outcome could have been very different.

Having held his nerve throughout in what has been a very stressful week in a 43 boat fleet, he was clearly not in the mood for leaving anything to chance.

“It started fairly slowly, a little bit of that was nerves and another just not wanting to get a bad race early on. As it was a 15th wasn’t such a bad race. Yesterday I got the chance to put my foot down on the regatta and sailed well enough to give myself a cushion for today.”

“I love Laser sailing, there’s really no other feeling quite like being out on boats that are all the same knowing that if you don’t win it’s something you’ve done rather than the equipment, I think that’s something that’ll be hard to get away from.”

Meanwhile, as the media frenzy was gathering pace around Goodison, the women’s Laser Radial race was proving to be another nerve wracking affair for the fleet favourite, Anna Tunnicliffe.

Having been over the line at the start she dipped back to exonerate herself, a move which left her in eighth place at the weather mark. The leeward mark saw her drop to 9th before she started the brave and rapid climb back through the fleet. By the second weather mark she was in 3rd and took another place on the last leg to finish 2nd behind Lithuanian sailor Gintare Volungeviciute who took silver. Chinese sailor Lijia Xu took third place and secured bronze in the process, a result that sparked a national media frenzy ashore.

Among the British Fleet street press though, there seems to be an obsession with the fact that Tunnicliffe was born in Doncaster to British parents who later emigrated to the USA. As she explained several times, Tunnicliffe had spent much of her time sailing on Rutland water and had various relatives spread throughout the UK. But with only one passport and an American accent to validate it, no amount of pressing about UK connections was going to turn this medal into anything other than a USA success.

Tomorrow looks more promising than today on the weather front which will no doubt please the Tornado and Star fleets who didn’t manage to get any racing in today. But will the conditions suit the British board sailors who could take team GB into the record books with another two medals. No one is banking on it, but no one is ruling it out.


Gold – UK
Silver – Netherlands
Bronze – Greece

Gold – UK
Silver – USA
Bronze – France

Gold – Denmark
Silver – Spain
Bronze – Germany

470 – MEN
Gold – Australia
Silver – UK
Bronze – France

470 – WOMEN
Gold – Australia
Silver – Netherlands
Bronze – Brazil

Gold – UK
Silver – Slovenia
Bronze – Italy

Gold – USA
Silver – Lithuania
Bronze – China

BRITS IN A NUTSHELL (Overall results so far)

Yngling GOLD
Laser GOLD
470 men SILVER

49er 9th
470 women 6th
RSX Men 2nd
RSX Women 4th
Laser Radial 10th
Tornado 12th
Star 2nd

RACING SCHEDULE – Wednesday 20 August (times are local)

Course A – 1300 hrs RS:X Men medal race

Course A – 1300 hrs RS:X Women medal race

Course D – 1100hrs Star (3 races)

Course E – 1100hrs Tornado (3 races)


UK board sailor Bryony Shaw looks forward to the medal race – Can she do it? 

Ben Ainslie describes how he feels after winning his third gold medal 

Light and…..brilliant. Nick Rogers tells Matthew Sheahan about his tricky day in the 470 class 

UK Laser sailor Paul Goodison talks to Matthew Sheahan after his opening day at the 2008 Olympics 

British 470 sailors Nic Rogers and Joe Glanfield describe their first day on the race track 11-8-08 

Ben Ainslie after the second day of racing plus comments on penalties – 10 Aug


Official Olympic Sailing Schedule plus mark roundings 

Qingdao Weather 

British Olympic Organisation website 

British Olympic Team website 

Protests and Protest Decisions