The 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition was held at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, located on the Yellow Sea, some 800 kilometres from Beijing.
The expected light winds conditions prevailed throughout the early part of the
competition, which combined with the high heat and humidity made for some
extremely challenging racing. Over the second week of racing, conditions were
much more varied, including severe storms for several of the Medal Races.
In total 18 nations won medals, including the first ever sailing medal for Lithuania. With four gold, one silver and one bronze medal, Great Britain topped the sailing Medal Tally for the third consecutive Games.
Other gold medals went to Australia, who repeated their feat of 2000 by winning both two-person dinghy events, Spain, the USA, China, Denmark and New Zealand.
View full results from Beijing here.
Introducing The Medal Race
The double points Medal Race was introduced at Beijing 2008 which saw the top ten placegetters from the week's fleet racing compete in one last stand. It was introduced to provide maximum excitement for the spectators and with a race time of just 30 minutes it was set to provide the perfect finale to the competition.
Any disputes about broken rules are decided immediately by umpires watching the racing on the water so the winners will be known as soon as the race finishes.
Alessandra Sensini rules the female waves
Italy's Alessandra Sensini sailed in every windsurfer event after a Women's division was introduced at Barcelona 1992.
Although she did not win a medal at her first Olympic Games she went on to pick up bronze at Atlanta 1996, gold at Sydney 2000 and bronze at Athens 2004. The Italian became the most successful female sailor in 2008 when she won silver in Beijing.
Ainslie at it yet again
Ben Ainslie (GBR) put on a masterclass show of Finn sailing in Beijing and the manner in which he won his third Olympic gold was truly fascinating.
The Brit won four of nine races, including the Medal Race, to finish with a 22 point victory. After the race Ainslie said, "This feeling is truly amazing, and it's a massive relief. I could open the champagne right now and rightfully so."
Is the champagne already on ice for London 2012?
The 49er Medal Race was one of the most dramatic races ever witnessed at an Olympic Sailing Competition.
Jonas Warrer and Martin Ibsen (DEN) went into the race with an 11 point lead, but snapped their mast before the start of the race. In a desperate attempt to compete in the race they returned to the marina and hastily rigged the Croatian boat and made it to the start line four seconds before the time limit ran out.
In gusty conditions and big waves, carnage ensued which enabled the Danes to get back into contention. Athens 2004 49er Champions Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) went on to win the race but the Danes pulled through to finish in seventh, handing them the gold medal.
After several hours in the Jury protest room, and a visit to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Danes medal was confirmed.
Recap on the race report here.
By Beijing, the review instigated after the poor performance in Athens had achieved results. Strong performances at European regattas in the build-up promised good results and medals were certainly won. But the result could have been even better.
Monday, 18 August, 2008 was the golden day, with the men’s and women’s 470 teams claiming victories in the light winds of Qingdao. Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page needed only to start the medal race to win Gold but finished their Olympic campaign in style, leading from start to finish.
Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson, the youngest crew in the team, covered their biggest threat, The Netherlands, the entire distance on their way to a Gold medal. This was a particularly courageous performance as Rechichi had suffered a life-threatening illness in the build-up to the Games.
In the Tornado, Darren Bundock became a dual Olympic medallist when he and Glenn Ashby won the Silver medal in a tight, hard fought regatta and there was heartache for the young 49er crew of Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin, who capsized while in Gold medal winning position in the last race, to finish 5th.
Sarah Blanck in the Laser Radial finished in fourth place while Jessica Crisp on the R:SX also finished fifth overall.
The Yngling crew of Krystal Weir, Karyn Gojnich and Angela Farrell were 10th, the Star of Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey was 14th, Anthony Nossiter finished 16th in his Finn and Tom Slingsby was 22nd in the Laser.
The support team in Beijing was
Michael Jones (Manager), Victor Kovalenko (head coach), Emmett Lazich, Arthur Brett, Mike Fletcher, Michael
Blackburn, Lars Kleppich, Euan McNicol and
Adrian Finglas (coaches), Simon Smith (boat maintenance), Rosie Stanimirovic (psychologist) and Eric Clarke (physiotherapist).
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