The wind failed to cooperate today in the 2016 Olympic sailing regatta in Rio, forcing organizers to postpone the medal races for both the men’s and women’s 470 classes, setting up a big closing day for the event tomorrow, with no less than four classes going for the gold. Even more important, it means that sailing fans have to wait another 24 hours to find out who will prevail in the incredibly tight women’s 470 class, where the U.S. team is battling for its life.
Indeed, going into women’s 470 medal race things couldn’t be tighter, despite the fact that British sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark had the gold medal wrapped up with a race to spare, following some dramatic turnarounds on Tuesday, the last day of the class preliminaries.
On the one hand, U.S. sailors Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha logged three of their four worst finishes in the entire regatta, crossing the line in 8th position twice and 9th position once, which dropped them down into third overall with 49 points.
On the other, Kiwi sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who’ve been dealing with some hard luck of their own in the form of not one but two DSQs, chose the last day to come on strong, finishing 1, 1 and 4, to jump into second overall with 48 points, a single point ahead of the Americans.
Finally, French sailors Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance are just a single point behind the Americans, with 50, and the French, in turn, are looking over their shoulders at the Japanese team of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka, who are only two points behind them with 52.
If nothing else, the situation makes for some “interesting” tactical choices. Who, for example, do you cover when you’re got no less than four teams in what is, for all intents and purposes, a dead heat? (Remember: points in the medal races count double, meaning you can climb, or fall in the standings that much more quickly. )
Meanwhile, in the men’s 470 class, things look fairly safe for Croatian’s Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, who have sailed a strong, consistent regatta and are currently in the lead with 27 points.
There will, however, undoubtedly be a tough, hard-fought medal race between Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis in second and Australia’s Mathew Belcher and William Ryan who trail them by just two points in third.
There’s also a possibility—albeit a slim one—that U.S. sailors Stuart Mcnay and David Hughes, currently in fourth, could overtake their Australian counterparts, although it would require that they win the medal race outright and the Australians finish last.
For complete results in the sailing events, click here.