The U.S. contingent has had a disappointing Olympics so far, but one of the two Olympians who spoke to meetings of the Arizona Yacht Club is still in contention.
Anna Tunnicliffe’s women’s match racing team heads into the medal round Monday (8/6) with the slate of scores wiped clean. After starting the first week with a pair of tough losses (snagging a mark anchor in one), her team finished with a string of wins. The Australian team appears to be her strongest competition, winning 10 out of 10 matches in the preliminary round.
2008 Finn Silver Medalist Zach Railey missed the medal round, ending in 12th. His friend and training partner Jonas Hoegh-Christensen was a sensation in the class, leading Finn legend Ben Ainslie into the final medal round. But Ben rallied in the last few races, finished ahead of Jonas in the final race, and captured the gold, his 4th Gold and his fifth medal in the games. By doing it, he surpassed Paul Elvstrom, as the greatest sailor in Olympic history. Elvstrom won four straight gold medals from 1948-60.
“The goal was to compete for a medal,” Zach said after being eliminated. “After the first couple of races where things hadn’t gone my way, we knew we had to start taking more risk on the racecourse to give myself a chance. Obviously, when you start taking more risk there’s more reward and more downside. This week hasn’t gone the way we planned. We prepared well. We feel good about the preparation going into this. I take a lot of pride in preparing for big events. To not do well here is very upsetting. There are a lot of people who helped me get here and supported me, and I’d like to thank them.”
Oh, and who was that guy running the Finn races? None other than our speaker from last fall, professional race officer Peter “Luigi” Reggio!