Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen win 49er gold
Australia’s 49er crew of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have won the country’s second sailing gold of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Outteridge and Jensen led the regatta from start to finish, taking an unassailable lead into the medal race. The pair was able to enjoy the medal race, crossing the line fourth to end their campaign on top.
Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty have qualified for the Women’s Match Racing semifinal following a three wins to one victory over the Netherlands. The Australians will race Finland on Friday for a spot in the final.
In the 470 women’s class Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell head into the final medal race in sixth position following a fourth and a first on Wednesday. The Australians have a slim chance at bronze and will be pushing hard in Friday’s decider.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have been the team to beat in the 49er class since 2009 and today added the final trophy to their cabinet, an Olympic Gold Medal.
The pair was at the front of the fleet all week, wrapping up the gold medal in the final fleet race. Outteridge and Jensen just had to complete medal race to claim the gold, with their New Zealand training partners taking silver and Denmark bronze.
"It was amazing. We've sailed brilliantly for four years and this week has been one of our best weeks so far,” said Outteirdge. “It was really cool to do a race where it didn’t matter where we finished, we were just able to enjoy it. We got around and as soon as we finished we started to slowly get excited and the more people we saw the more excited we got. We had a good moment with the Kiwis, we’ve been good mates with those boys for a long time and it was awesome to be able to celebrate with them.”
“Together our coach Emmett we put together a really good campaign, it was a four year campaign to ensure that there was no stone left unturned,” he said. “We can stand here and say that we did everything possible to win and the results prove that.”
London 2012 is Jensen’s first appearance at an Olympic Games and the Lake Macquarie sailor is bringing home a Gold Medal.
“Words are hard to find to describe when you realise that it’s actually going to happen,” said Jensen. “It’s been two days since we knew that we were going to win and I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
Women’s Match Racing
Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty went into the third match of the quarterfinal locked at one-all with the Netherlands. The Australian trio has been the team to beat all regatta, winning all 11 round robin matches to be the top seed.
Just as it was on Tuesday, today’s races were hard fought with both crews working hard to get any advantage. The Australians took the win in the first race of the day, leaving them one victory away from a semifinal position.
The Dutch got off to a better start in the fourth race, with Price and crew chasing hard, eventually getting through at the final mark rounding. The Australians extended from there, taking the win and will face off against Finland in Friday’s semifinal.
“We’re happy with our day, we raced hard and came away with two wins,” said Price. “Both races were very close, the first one was quite interesting with a couple of penalties, they're our training partner and we know them quite well. They were always going to be hard fought races.”
“We know each other’s in and outs and we know how each other is feeling in different situations, we were always going to have to fight hard for that race,” she said.
Price said that they’ll enjoy a day off before refocusing on Friday’s semifinal.
"We don't change anything,” she said. “We're going into it sticking to our system and going out to win races."
A strong final two fleet races has given Australia’s Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell a glimmer of hope of winning a bronze medal in the 470 women’s class.
After a mixed week the pair of Olympic champions put it all on the line on Wednesday, starting the day ninth overall. Rechichi and Stowell were fourth in the opening race before leading race two from start to finish, winning by over two minutes, moving them into sixth heading into the medal race.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t have given up a little bit of that lead today to get back some of those points we lost earlier in the week,” said Rechichi. “It was nice to finish the opening series with a good one and nice to be in the medal race and be in the hunt, albeit a long shot. If the cards fall our way anything is possible.”
Rechichi and Stowell go into the decider 15 points behind the third placed Dutch team and will need things to go their way to claim a medal.
“We’ve learnt that anything is possible on that Nothe course and it would be great to sail the way that we did today,” said Stowell. “We went out there and did the best we could and it was great to come away with the results we did.”
The 470 women’s medal race will be held at 1pm on Friday on the Nothe spectator course.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page will be the only Australian crew in action on Thursday as they contest the 470 men’s medal race. Belcher and Page take a four point lead over Great Britain into the decider, needing to finish within one place of them to claim the gold.