Sailing Talk Podcast - Olympic Regatta Day 9 - Laser Medal Races
After the bad blood of yesterday’s racing in the Finn, with the ‘did or didn’t Ben hit the mark?’ allegations, it was back to racing fair and square.
Ben Ainslie made a mess of the first race but battled his way back to 6th, just one place behind his arch rival Jonas Hoegh Christensen in 5th. In the next race Ben nailed the start and won the race into the favoured left side of the course. Jonas had been forced to tack off right after a bad start, but fought his way back into second place.
As things stood, Ben would be going into the medal race unable to fully control his own destiny. He would have to put at least a boat between himself and the Dane. But then Dutchman PJ Postma fought back on the final beat to get his nose ahead of Christensen down the final run. The Dutchman held on for 2nd place, meaning Christensen finished 3rd.
Now the points gap from the Dane to the Brit is just two points. With the Medal Race a double-pointer, Ainslie has effectively nullified the two point deficit. It means nothing. All that matters now is who beats who, a straight fight. And the fact that Postma is still within striking distance of gold should keep the top two contenders honest. There shouldn’t be too much opportunity for a match-race dust-up. Whoever beats who in the final race of the Olympics will win the gold medal. It’s the perfect scenario.
Funniest moment today was when Jonas was still talking to the British media scrum, and Ben was waiting to speak to us (that doesn’t happen very often!). Ben joked: “He’s in my way again.” Jonas fired back: “Get used to it!” Game on!
Here’s what the three leading lights in the Finn had to say:
FINNS: THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
PJ Postma - Not until he got ashore did the Dutchman realise what a crucial role he might have played in the uncertain outcome of the Finn Olympic Regatta. And Postma himself still has a shot at gold...
Ben Ainslie - will he buy a drink for PJ Postma who put a vital place between the Brit and the Dane?
Jonas Hoegh Christensen sailed well today, but Ben Ainslie sailed better, and now the Dane goes into the Medal Race on Sunday on even terms with the most successful Finn sailor of all time. Does he have the nerve to finish off the job and seize gold?
Listen to Jonas here:
SCHEIDT SHOOTING FOR STAR GLORY
Robert Scheidt knows there’s a lot of ground to make up on the British if he’s to win Star gold, but the Brazilian hopes the tricky Nothe course might help him out...
THE AUSSIE FAVOURITES - HOW ARE THEY DOING?
Australian 470 favourites have a better day at the office, Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page happy to make amends for the previous day...
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen avoided most of the snakes and found most of the ladders on the 49er course today, the Aussies still leading, with New Zealand in silver...
Tom Slingsby is living up to his pre-event billing of favourite in the Laser class, although it’s still not coming easy to the Australian...
Listen to Tom here: