The Men’s RS:X competition will be a fascinating competition with several strong contenders spread across the fleet.
A large number of the sailors in the fleet have what it takes to win the competition but it will be a case of who kicks it up when it really matters.
Julien Bontemps (FRA) comes into London 2012 as the Men’s RS:X World Champion having picked up gold in Cadiz, Spain in March. The Frenchman finished ninth at Athens 2004 and won silver at Beijing 2008 and he is aware of the threats posed at London 2012, “I think there are seven or eight guys who can win the medals, ” said Bontemps. “I think I am part of those and that’s what we’ve been training towards. This is my third Olympics so I’m used to the pressure and to feel the entire nation behind me. A lot of people have confidence in you and it is a great feeling.”
2011 RS:X World Champion Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) is one of those who will be in the running for the RS:X gold medal and like Bontemps he is aware of his adversaries, “I’m stoked to be competing at the Games and I’m just going to try and make the best of it, ” said the Dutchman. “The top ten is really close together and we’ve got people like Julien Bontemps, Nick Dempsey, Przemyslaw Miarczynski from Poland and of course a whole lot more, so those are the guys to watch out for.”
The Dutchman’s laid back personality has won him a lot of fans but it’ll be business as usual on the water, “I’m looking forward to racing each other and having a good time, that’s what it’s all about and everybody being on their A game and trying to get a result. I love my country and that’s important for me.”
Nick Dempsey (GBR) is one of the most determined athletes in the fleet and as a Weymouth based lad he will know the waters better than anyone. The Brit won bronze at Athens 2004 but missed out on the medals in Beijing, finishing fourth. He won the RS:X Worlds at the same venue in 2009 and has finished on the podium at all eight of the senior regattas he has sailed in at Weymouth and Portland.
Poland’s Przemyslaw Miarczynski has European, World Cup and World RS:X medals in his cabinet but has not been able to add an Olympic one to his repertoire. An eighth place at Sydney 2000 followed up by a fifth at Athens 2004 and a 16th at Beijing 2008 has seen the Polish windsurfer miss out on the ultimate prize. The 32-year-old will aim to push all the way to the bitter end.
Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) will be another strong contender having put together a run of consistent results that has seen him finish in the top ten at every regatta sailing in since March 2011. With this in his mind the Greek windsurfer comes into London 2012 bubbling with confidence, “It’s a big Games for me. I just want to enjoy it, have fun and whatever comes in the end I believe it will be good.”
Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Shahar Zubari (ISR), New Zealand’s JP Tobin, and Germany’s Toni Wilhelm will also be front runners for gold in Weymouth and Portland.
Outsiders include Richard Stauffacher (SUI), Ricardo Santos (BRA), Zac Plavsic (CAN), Tae Hoon Lee (KOR) and Maksym Oberemko (UKR) but they will have to put together ten consistent results to be in with a chance during the Medal Race,
The Men’s RS:X fleet set sail on Tuesday 31 July at 12:00 on the Weymouth Bay West Course. The fleet enjoy a lay day on 3 August before racing resumes on 4 August. The Men’s RS:X will play to the Nothe Spectator area on 7 August where the gold medallists will be decided after the Medal Race.
- ISAF Olympic Sailing Website http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/home.php
- Full List Of Olympic Sailors http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/qualification/sailors_qualified.php
- Key Olympic Sailing Documents http://www.sailing.org/olympic_documents_london_2012_index.php
- High Resolution Images – Free-for-editorial use, high-resolution images will be made available by onEdition here http://www.w-w-i.com/isaf_sailing_2012/. Media will need to register before download.
The Olympic Sailing Competition takes place from 29 July to 12 August 2012 hosted at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in Dorset, Great Britain.
Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has appeared at every Olympic Games since 1908. In 2012, 380 of the world’s best sailors will compete across ten events representing 63 nations.
There are five racing areas located in Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay. Each of the fleet racing events will complete a 10 race opening series before the final double points scoring Medal Race and the women’s match racing event will sail a full round robin before a knock out series to the final. All of the Medal Races will take place on the ‘Nothe Course’ directly in front of the spectator area.
Can The Spaniards Gatecrash The Australian 49er Party?
Australia’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen will be the 49er pair to beat at London 2012 but with Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) back in the skiff many are wondering if they can gatecrash the Australian party.
The Australians have been a formidable force in the 49er since teaming up after Beijing 2008 and have won three 49er World Championships together and finished second in the other.
London 2012 will be Jensen’s first Olympic appearance but for Outteridge it is his second and he will want to put the nightmares of Beijing 2008 behind him. Leading the Medal Race with 100 metres to go Outteridge with partner Ben Austin capsized and ended up finishing sixth, shattering their medal chances.
Despite having this on his back Outteridge said, “We have a lot of confidence going into the event. We’ve won 14 of our 17 major events over the last few years, so it’s now a matter of ensuring we just do everything right at the Games.
“We won’t be doing anything different to what we have been doing all year long.”
The Australians haven’t faced the Spaniards since the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, Olympic Test Event last July and August. The Spaniards had just come back from another round the world trip and pushed the Australians all the way to the end. The Spanish pair led going into the final day but Outteridge and Jensen finished fourth to Martinez and Fernandez’s sixth. Nothing separated them in the end as they ended on 77 total points and 63 net points with the Australians coming out on top as the count back proved decisive.
Having recently returned from a round the world race the Spaniards mean business at London 2012 and hopped into the skiff almost the moment after they finished racing. They also turned down the chance to carry their nation’s flag at the Opening Ceremony as Martinez said, “To attend the Opening Ceremony would have meant losing a whole day of training and we are already short of time.
“It is difficult to know how it would have hurt us, maybe nothing, but the Games are the Games and it would be wrong to accept that responsibility if it would harm our chances.”
If they can rediscover their form from the Olympic Test Event then they have the potential to crush Australian dreams.
New Zealand’s Peter Burling will make his second Olympic appearance having sailed the Men’s 470 at Beijing 2008 finishing 11th whilst crew Blair Tuke makes his debut. The Kiwis have finished second behind the Australians at the last two 49er World Championships and will have to step it up to overcome their Australian training partners.
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) will have the home water advantage and will also be in contention whilst Austria’s Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch, Denmark’s Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang and Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) will all stake their claim to 49er gold.
The 49er fleet set sail on Monday 30 July at 12:00 on the Nothe Course. The fleet enjoy a lay day on 4 August before racing resumes on 5 August. The 49ers will play to the Nothe Spectator area again on 8 August where the gold medallists will be decided after the Medal Race.