A tense day today on the waters off Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy as medal battles were fought and medal race qualification took some final turns. The conditions were lighter than previous, seeing wind in the 10-14 knots range under sunny skies and 14 degrees of air temperature. Nikola Girke and Zac Plavsic just squeked through in what are less than ideal conditions for both. Mens 470 Sailors Mike Leigh and Luke Ramsay were off the water today to get some rest and recollect for the final four races in their series, and Hunter Lowden and Gordon Cook raced two races in their battle for medal race qualification.
Zac Plavsic was dialed in to what’s proving to be the perfect time for his career to peak. Head Coach Ken Dool weighs in on Plavsic and his performance. "Zac has saved his best performance of the quad for the right time. Teamed with coach and Olympian Kevin Stittle and a world class training group he has worked diligently towards his goal to secure 8th with a shot for a top 5 finish. Zac has nothing to lose and will hang it all out in his final race of this games. An immensely talented athlete, Plavsic has drawn it all together for the most important week of his competitive career and looks to finish it off with an explosive finish.” Sitting at 8th overall with 80 net points going into the medal race give Zac a sure shot at 5th. "It's exciting. I saved my best competition until the end
and still have the medal race to go. I can only move up the leader board in the final race so I'm going to throw everything at it. I've got nothing to lose!"
Nikola Girke, women’s RS:X competitor just qualified for the medal race today. Light conditions are her worst enemy and thats what she fought through today, finishing 19th and 18th to place her in 10th overall. Ken gave us thoughts on Nikola as well, “Nik showed her metal today, fighting through less than ideal conditions for herself and secured a berth in Tuesdays medal race. An accomplishment in itself, but Nik is not done yet and will go down swinging in an effort to move further up the leader board. Eight years of relentless pursuit of performance will culminate in one final show down with her rivals on the now infamous Nothe course.” We caught up with her off the water, "Pretty relieved and pretty happy to make the top 10 finals. I didn't know how I would place after 2 difficult races today, so I am feeling relief and now I've got more work to do." We’re cheering for you Nikola, sail fast!
49er men Hunter Lowden and Gordon Cook had a frustrating day, desperate to qualify for a medal race position but finishing behind where they need to be. They added an 8th and a 20th to their tally to put them in 16th overall. In their series, two races remain.
Stars and Finn sailed medal races today and if anyone thinks sailboat racing can be boring they didn't watch today's action as there were nail biters to say the least in both the classes. The UK's local hero Ben Ainslie in the Finn made good on his goal of recovering after a slow start to the series and showed why he is considered amongst the best of all time, and at the very least is now the most decorated of all time. Ben Ainslie's gold medal is his fourth to go along with a silver medal enabling him to surpass
the great Dane Paul Elvstrom as the high medal collecting Olympic sailor of all time. A
great Dane himself, Jonas Hoeg Christensen fought to the end, finishing tied on points with Ainslie after an outstanding week of competition. The medals in the Finn fleet were decided in the final meters when PJ Postma of the Netherlands, one of Canada's favorite friends, suffered a devastating blow being forced to take a penalty turn and turning potential gold into a 4th, an absolute tear jerker. At the end it was the decorated veteran who claimed gold and laid to rest a weeks worth of speculation that he had lost a step, if it's the steps on the podium people were referring to he certainly navigated himself to the top step once again, an incredible feat for those of us that have watched it all unfold.
The star event was not less exciting with defending gold medalist Ian Percy and Bart Simpson looking to be in control, but the Nothe served up a nasty dose of reality as the fleet closed in on the leaders, Freddy Loof of Sweden claimed the victory and then had to wait pensively as the drama unfolded, low and behold the cards fell in Freddy's hand and the gold was his, completing his medal collection. Check out all the results at ISAF’s olympic site, and watch for updates as our RS:X sailors go into their medal race on Facebook or at canadiansailingteam.ca, good luck guys! We know you’ve got it in you!