Wednesday, August 13, 2008

USA Wins Six Races

Photo - Andrew Campbell USA Lasers
Olympic Sailing Regatta Day 5: USA Wins Six Races

Qingdao, China (August 13, 2008) – Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Chris Rast (San Diego, Calif.) built a picket fence with scores of 1, 1, 1 in today’s 49er races. The pair entered the day in 13th overall and had finished no better than fifth in the first six races, but they rebounded to sweep the day. Rast is competing in his third Olympics and ranked today as his “best ever!” He said, “It feels great to get back on track.” After a tough start to the regatta, they benefitted from yesterday’s day off, taking the time to talk to mentors like Star coach Hans Wallen (SWE) and Rules Advisor Dave Perry (Southport, Conn.). Wadlow explained, “We needed a day to chill out, reflect and come back with a new attitude. Now we’re just going to take every race as it comes and give it our best shot.” The first two 49er races were officially reported as with two to three knot breezes, but Rast said it felt more like four. Rast and Wadlow said they owed a little bit of today’s success to the wind gods, so maybe that’s why it felt like four knots to them and no one else. Wadlow and Rast have now moved up to fifth place overall in the 19-boat fleet.

Wadlow and Rast weren’t the only ones to top the charts today, as the USA had bullets in three other classes. Team Leader Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.) mentioned the USA’s six race wins today to American-born New Zealand coach Rod Davis, who said, “I don’t know if that’s ever happened!”

Yngling, Finn, Lasers and Laser Radials were delayed for wind today, and were only able to complete one race. In the Laser class, Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.) led the whole way around the course in five knots. When asked if winning a race at the Olympics felt different than winning any other race, Campbell replied, “It’s just as nerve wracking.” He continued, “I always had the confidence and knew I could win races at the Olympics. Now this confirms it’s actually true.”

USA supporters also knew the Yngling team of Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Carrie Howe (Grosse, Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) could win races, and they pulled one out today. Skipper Sally Barkow said, “We took the day off to relax and refocus on our decision making and preparation.” Barkow felt faster today but said, “If you look at the scores it’s anybody’s game.”

Men’s 470 sailors Stu McNay (Lincoln, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) won their second race by over a minute and a half. McNay said, “I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to win a medal here just by looking at the guys in our fleet and all the talented people on the USA team.” Biehl said it felt great to win an Olympic race in front of the cameras, knowing people were watching from around the world. Read full report...