Star Report - Medal Race Day
Star Boys ‘Proud’ After Silver Medal Show
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson won Britain’s first sailing medal of London 2012 with Star class silver in Weymouth and Portland today (Sunday 5 August).
Despite admitting their disappointment at missing out on a second consecutive gold medal in today’s final double points’ medal race, both sailors insisted that they were proud of their efforts over the course of the week.
Knowing that they already had a minimum of a bronze sewn up, Percy and Simpson went into the medal race with an eight point advantage over nearest rivals, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), and 12 points ahead of Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (SWE), in third overall.
But as the Swedes seized the opportunity to control the race from the front to end on 32 points, the Brits had to finish in sixth or higher to reclaim their crown.
Fifth halfway down the run to the finish line, it looked like the advantage still lay with Percy and Simpson. But with a number of boats catching a final gust into the line, the Brits could not hang on to their position and agonisingly came eighth in the race, to finish two points behind Loof and Salminen with Scheidt and Prada taking bronze.
Percy said: “We must be the saddest silver medallists out there today. It is personally very painful to lose in that way, having sailed a good week but that’s the nature of sport. It was such wacky conditions, so puffy, you can never guarantee it all. We approached the line and it wasn’t looking that good to be honest. A tiny little puff came in the other side and there’s not much you can do at that point. That’s the nature of sailing on that course. We tried our hardest but it wasn’t to be.”
The silver medal makes Iain Percy the joint second most successful British Olympic sailor of all time, equalling Rodney Pattisson’s achievement of two golds and one silver medal. Percy won his first Olympic medal with gold in the Finn class at Sydney 2000 before claiming Star gold with Simpson at Beijing 2008. Today’s medal is Simpson’s second, having won gold in the Star with Percy in Beijing.
Percy added: “In a week we will be proud of our campaign, we were the best guys out there this week. We didn’t sail very well [today] but we fell foul of the final race system that we now run. We’re proud of our efforts, we’re obviously very disappointed to not win, but I think as a bit of time goes by we will be proud to be silver medallists together again.”
Simpson said: “Just to compete in the Olympics in Great Britain is a huge honour and we had a great time doing it. The training for it was fantastic. Obviously we are quite frustrated but getting a silver and sailing with one of your best friends, we will look back at this in years to come and be really proud.”
The Star boys enjoyed a clean start, picking to head out towards the left hand side of the course. It was the Swedes who got out of the block quickest and they rounded the first mark first, with Britain still in gold medal position in fifth. A great first downwind leg saw Percy and Simpson close the gap on Loof and Salminen while still keeping their noses in front of Brazil and at this point the Brits looked comfortable.
Trying to defend their lead against two boats, both of whom had gone to different sides of the course, was not making things any easier for Percy and Simpson and they rounded the final mark in sixth place knowing they either had to retain that position, or hope another boat could catch the Swedish boat, to take gold.
Unfortunately their gold medal hopes faded away in the final 100m as the boats on the left hand side of the course got a final puff of breeze to leave the Brits helpless.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.