Giles Scott defended his Olympic title in the Finnish men’s category with a fourth place finish in the medal race, as Great Britain claimed two dramatic golds in quick succession on Tuesday followed by a silver.
Scott claimed Team GB’s sixth straight gold at the Finn, shortly after Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell kicked off the race for the British sailing medal with a close victory in the men’s 49er FX. John Gimson and Anna Burnet then added a silver medal at Nacra 17 to the day’s tally with a fifth-place finish in their career for the medal.
Scott held a nine-point lead over Hungarian Zsombor Berecz before Finland’s medal race, but suffered a heart attack early on. Believing he had started wrong, Scott decided to play it safe and turned around, starting again from the back of the field. Berecz crossed the finish line first, but Scott’s fourth place secured a three-point margin of victory over his rival in silver.
GB has owned Finnish gold since 2000, when Iain Percy got the gold. Ben Ainslie won three golds in the class before presenting them to Scott, who continued the race with the gold in Rio.
Scott’s title defense began shakily in Japan with consecutive finishes in ninth place in his first two races. However, he finished first in six of the next eight races to gain a nine-point lead in his last race.
Fletcher and Bithell, meanwhile, had started the day in second place, four points behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, and tied with Spain, entering the race for the double-point medal.
The lack of wind on Monday forced the 49er FX medal races to be postponed at Enoshima Harbor, but there was nothing to stop Fletcher and Bithell, who aggressively took control of the race early on, determined to do their part. regardless of what happened behind. they. In a close race, Fletcher and Bithell led from the start, but a three-way fight with New Zealand and Germany brought the race to the line.
In the end, it was painfully tight and the British couple, ranked No. 1 in the world, crossed the line just ahead of the Germans, with New Zealand crossing in third place. With the four-point gap closed, GB won gold for finishing ahead of their rivals in the final race. Germany finished in the bronze medal position after their second place.
Fletcher and Bithell competed against each other for a place in the 49er class at Rio 2016 with Fletcher beating his rival and finishing sixth overall in Brazil. They joined forces later that year. In the end, they achieved top-five finishes in seven of their 13 races en route to gold.
“I think it has been very close all week in the races and today it showed how it has been,” said Fletcher. “It was an intense race, but it’s amazing to be sitting here now being Olympic champions.
“I thought we had it to be honest, but I knew it was super easy. The other guys had priority over us so we had to be careful not to get a penalty and time everything correctly, but Stu did an amazing job of making the boat fast and we just hit it at the end. “
Gimson and Burnet were guaranteed a medal in their career for the Nacra 17 medal and sat in second place behind Italian pair Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti. The British had 10 top-five results, but finished 10 points behind the gold medalists.
The medals were a huge boost for Team GB on a great sailing day after Charlotte Dobson, who will marry Fletcher on August 26, and Saskia Tidey failed to climb to a medal position after finishing 14th in the race. of women’s 49er FX medals. After winning their first two races, things fell apart as they came from 13th to 16th in races seven to 10. They finished sixth overall.
Emma Wilson won the team’s first sailing medal with bronze in women’s windsurfing on Saturday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism