All 2 weeks of the sailing Olympics itBoat maintains «logbook», reporting on the main events and achievements of each day.
The main event of the day, as we wrote yesterday, was a desperate struggle for the lead in the class Finn. Two outstanding masters clashed there: a Briton Ben Ainslie. and the Dane. Jonas Hoig-Christensen. «and so we shall be giving Finn the lion's share of our attention in this edition of». Ben's luck was not good on home waters from the start as he finished third on the first day of the event, then battled back from one point to the next. There is much at stake for the Englishman: winning these Olympics will not just add a fourth gold medal (and fifth overall, he has an Olympic silver from Atlanta in 1996). If he wins, Ben will surpass the most decorated yachtsman in Olympic history - the Dane. Paul Elvström. «The latter won» four Olympics in a row from 1948 to 1960.
There is no doubt that Ben Ainslie's desire to become «most», making history in the world Olympic movement, is present to the fullest extent.
He himself admitted this after the sixth race, saying that his dream of surpassing Paul Elvström was still in jeopardy. However, for Hoig-Christensen (especially after the revelations of the Briton) to some extent the desire to keep his compatriot on the podium is also added to the winning motivation. He, too, has spoken out about how «would be a good way to prevent the Brit from surpassing Elvstrom as the most decorated yachtsman in the Olympics». However, he said it with a smile, clearly playing along with reporters who were eager to hear something similar.
It's worth noting that Friday's race began in an atmosphere of real conflict, some of which didn't make it to the broadcast. During Thursday's final race, both of Ainslie's main rivals(Hoig-Christensen and Peter-Jan Postma) accused him of touching the third turn mark. On the course, Ainslie didn't argue and meekly executed a penalty 360° turn. «Despite this, he was able to reach and beat one of his offenders in magnificent style in the remaining metres of the course». And then, on land, white with anger and with clenched fists, he let the Dane know out loud what he thought of him. And we all know how he does it.
Later, Ainslie publicly accused his rivals in the first three of conspiring against him.
The story, however, is rather confusing - the televised replay does not clearly answer the question of whether or not Ainslie touched the mark. The yachtsman did not protest, reasoning that he was one vote down to two (which he saw as collusion) and could face disqualification if the protest failed.
This incident drastically changed the moral atmosphere at the regatta.» Whereas on Thursday morning the Danish sailor was still referred to as «Great Dane» (the «Great Dane - the English can respect a strong opponent), by the evening he had already become enemy No. 1 for all local fans and journalists. Of course it was not easy for him to take to the start of the race on Friday. However, he stood tall, managing to hold off Ainslie's advances in race nine and edging him out by one place.
Well, the tenth race was a masterpiece of the Briton - he took the lead in brilliant style from Hoig-Christensen and slowed down a little on the final day: he planned to wait for the Dane and connect him with a tactical battle so that «confuse» him in the rolling main fleet and not allow him to come in second place. After all, if the Dane had finished second, Ainslie would have needed at least two places ahead of him in the medal race to win.
Luckily for the Briton, this important job for him was done by the same Postma who had been accused of collusion twenty-four hours earlier - he beat the Dane himself. The gap between Ainslie and Hoig-Christensen was reduced to just two points.
The layout of the medal race on Sunday is as follows: Ainslie becomes a four-time Olympic champion if he beats Hoig-Christensen by at least one place.
There's one more condition, though: if Peter-Jan Postma wins the medal race, Ainslie needs to finish in the top seven. The start of this race, which will undoubtedly go down in history, is due on Sunday at 5pm (Moscow). Well, Eduard Skornyakov finished regatta on 17th place. Also Estonian (but also «our»!) Denis Karpak was unlucky - he fell down to 11th place, lacking only five points before the medal race.
Now briefly about the events in other classes. Men's 470 - the leader (Luc Patins) remains the same, brothers Sheremetievs moved up from the 21st to the 17th place. They are separated from the top ten by 25 points. In Laser, Tom Slingsby managed to regain the lead, and Igor Lisovenko advanced from 30th to 27th place. Evi Van Acker became the leader of the girls Laser Radial class, while Svetlana Shnitko fell down to the 36th place. The main part of the regatta in Star class is over - before the medal race Jan Percy's crew is in the lead here.
Live broadcasts of the sailing races (although without commentary) can be seen on Sportbox, the schedule of all races and results on the ISAF website, and a daily report on the performance of the Russian team on the VPSFwebsite.
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