Race Day 10 Report
Dempsey Makes It Three For Brits
Nick Dempsey claimed Britain’s third sailing medal of London 2012 – an RS:X Men’s windsurfing silver – and then revealed three-year-old son Thomas asked him, “Are you finished work yet, Daddy?”
Dempsey dispelled four years of heartache, having finished an agonising fourth at Beijing 2008, by finishing third in today’s double points medal race to comfortably claim the silver medal.
The medal is Dempsey’s second piece of Olympic windsurfing silverware, having won bronze at Athens 2004. After crossing the finish line, he headed straight towards his gathered friends and family on the Nothe where he lifted up a smiling Thomas.
Nick explains: “I was really wet and I thought he was going to complain about me making him wet. Then he just looked and me and said ‘Are you finished work yet Daddy?’ That’s all he said, ‘Are you coming home now Daddy?’
“It has taken me a long time to get over Beijing and I think I am over it, just about. This is just amazingly special. With it being at home, it’s just incredible to have all your friends there and your family. It’s not often you get to share these amazing moments in life with all your friends and family because you are always halfway around the world. It will be amazing catching up with them all tonight.”
Dempsey went into today’s double points’ medal race 11 points clear of Toni Wilhelm (GER) in bronze medal position and 17 points ahead of Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) who occupied fourth spot.
The Brit got off the line fast and rounded the top mark in third, a place ahead of the Polish athlete who had to win the race to be in with a shot of overtaking Dempsey. Keeping an eye on Wilhelm and Miarczynski, and the battle unfolding between them for a medal, Dempsey took a more conservative stance as he held third position and sailed over the line comfortably ahead of both his closest rivals to secure silver.
Dempsey’s success was at the forefront of the mind of his RS:X women’s windsurfing teammate, Bryony Shaw, who also finished her regatta today in seventh overall.
Shaw went into today’s race still with a shot of staking a late claim for silverware, if she could win the race and the girls ahead of her in the standings finished down the fleet. Unfortunately the 29-year-old, who endured a tough start to the year with a persistent chest infection hampering her training, couldn’t quite maintain the pace that she showed in the early stages of today’s race.
Although admitting she was “gutted” to miss out on a medal herself, Shaw immediately hailed the achievement of Dempsey.
Shaw said: “It was a fantastic race for Nick, I’m really pleased for him. We work alongside each other and push each other. We have very similar programmes and he’s worked really hard for that so congratulations. He did a great job.
“To not come away with a medal I’m gutted but I’ve enjoyed the journey. Each day you have to be positive. It hasn’t been the best series for me but I’m happy to be coming out with a smile on my face and an acceptance of where I am at. It’s been a great four years, me and my coach, Dom, have worked really hard and it’s been a great journey. My job today was super tough. The stars needed to align and unfortunately the other girls put in a great week and that’s hats off to them.”
Olympic debutants Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell know they have won at least a London 2012 silver medal - but the British 470 Men only have their eyes on gold as they head into their medal race showdown with Australia on Thursday.
Scores of third and second for Patience and Bithell today coupled with two firsts for the Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, ensured they cannot now be overtaken with just the medal race to come.
Four points separate the leading Aussies and the Brits in second meaning that to take gold at their first ever Olympics Patience and Bithell need to finish with just one boat between them and their Australian rivals in Thursday’s race.
Stuart said: “We are primed and ready to attack, we are ready! It’s absolutely certain they will come hunting us down for us to finish last and second last so it’s going to be a good one to watch that’s for sure! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Luke said: “We can’t get worse than silver, what a nice place to be in. We are just going to go out there to do all we can. It’s our first Olympics, we are happy boys but we didn’t come here to get second, we came here to win the Olympic Games and that is firmly within our grasp.”
Saskia Clark admits the British 470 Women are bidding for a golden post box as they head into the business end of their London 2012 Olympic regatta.
Clark and Hannah Mills scored finishes of fifth and second today to sit four points behind leaders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) while they have a three point advantage over Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) in third.
Clark said: “There are three of us that have pulled clear of the fleet so I don’t think we are going to have the situation that the British 470 boys have got where it’s a one-on-one. It’s probably going to be a three-way scrap with the Dutch and Kiwis. Are we confident of having a golden post box in our home town? That’s the goal.”
Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor’s bid to reach the semi-finals of the Olympic Women’s Match Racing competition stands delicately poised with the Brits tied one all with Russia after their opening two quarter-final encounters.
With three more races scheduled tomorrow if required, the girls admit they are pleased to still have everything to play for.
Lush said: “Today went well and we were sailing well and it feels a bit odd that we only did two races at the end of it. I really wanted to go out there and have her again! I was a bit frustrated after the first race as we lost it on something stupid but we are ready to go out tomorrow and do it again.”
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August