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Medal Races Determined in Miami
Miami, Fla. - After today's short 30-minute "Medal Race" in each of four Olympic classes (Laser, Laser Radial, Star and Yngling), US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR officially concluded. The regatta, an ISAF Grade 1 world ranking event that attracts elite sailors as well as up-and-comers, hosted 369 sailors from 34 countries and yesterday crowned champions in three Paralympic classes (SKUD-18, Sonar and 2.4mR). The awarding of gold, silver and bronze medals in those classes were based on scores from fleet racing that began last Monday for everyone; however, because of a new sailing format that will debut at the 2008 Olympic Games in Qingdao, China, the Olympic-class sailors stayed on for an extra day. Fleet racing scores determined these classes' top-ten sailors, who then advanced to the medal-racing round, which counted double in the scoring and acutely effected strategy plays for medals.
photo Paige Railey/Rolex Dan Nerney
"All I could think was 'I have to catch up, I have to catch up!,'" said the overall winner in the Laser Radial class Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), who started prematurely today, and after re-starting behind the fleet found herself in last around the top mark of a twice-around course. Her closest competitor in overall scoring, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), also had jumped the gun and was working her way up from sixth at that top mark to eventually win the race. "I knew that if Anna got a first, I had to get at least an eighth to still win overall," said Railey, who began picking off boats by playing a lane that was clear of wind-shadowing boats. In the end, she finished seventh, a score good enough to put her three points ahead of Tunnicliffe in the final standings. Though Railey and Tunnicliffe are long-time rivals -- Tunnicliffe edged out Railey at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Sailing to become the USA's representative to the Olympic Games in August -- the gold medal for Railey counted simly as a notable personal accomplishment on her campaign trail to the next Olympics. "Anna is still another sailor, like so many good sailors here," said Railey, "so it's personal for me not just in beating her but also in beating them." While Tunnicliffe won the silver medal, Karin Soderstrom (SWE) took the bronze.
France's Xavier Rohart, sailing with crew Pascal Rambeau, emerged as the overall Star class winner after winning that class's medal race. Even though he came into today's races in second overall, Rohart thought his chances of walking away with a gold medal were slim, due to the strength of previous leader Elvind Melleby with crew Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR) and the rest of the fleet, which has no less than six world champions in it, Rohart counting as one. "There are so many good teams that were really faster than we were all this week, so we felt it would be difficult to gain so much," said Rohart. However, when the Norwegian team started prematurely, Xavier said "the plan got easier." Elvind and Pedersen finished seventh in today's race, good for the silver medal, while Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria (SUI) took the bronze. Polish Laser sailor Maciej Grabowski won the gold medal in the Laser fleet on the strength of a third-place finish today. With the USA's Kyle Rogachenko (Collegeville, Penn.) only six points behind him going into today, Grabowski "couldn't let him go." He covered Rogachenko, as Rogachenko -- a member of US SAILING's Elite Youth Development Team -- was the only one who could steal away his gold medal. "It was not necessary to win the race or take risks," said Grabowski, who is a sure bet to represent his country at the Olympic Games. Grabowski strayed from the norm by choosing to come to Miami rather than participate in the Laser World Championships in Australia this February. Conflicting World Championships were the reason, in fact, that seven of the 2008 Olympic classes were not included this year at the Rolex Miami OCR. "For me it made sense to sail in a place with lighter winds that will be more like Qingdao," said Grabowski. Winning today's medal race to take the silver medal was Grabowski's fellow ountryman Marcin Rudawski, while Denmark's Anders Nyholm won the bronze.
Mandy MULDER, Mary FABER, Merel WITTEVEEN, NED 1
Winners of the Yngling
Rolex Miami OCR 2008
© ROLEX / Dan Nerney
Yesterday's leading team in the Yngling class, Mandy Mulder, Mary Faber and Merel Witteveen (NED), finished seventh today to take the gold medal over Ekaterina Skudina, Diana Krutskikh and Natalia Ivanova (RUS), who settled for silver. "Going into today we had a four-point lead over Russia and we knew the third-place team from Great Britain could not catch us," said Mulder, who skippers. Her bow person Witteveen added, "We controlled the Russian team only a little while we tried to sail our own race." The Russians finished in last while another Nederlands team of Renee Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes and Marge Kampen finished fourth to move into bronze-medal position. Witteveen was quick to note that three teams from her country have been competing here, all with their sights set on Qingdao, but no one knows yet which combination of three from the nine girls will go. Witteveen said that during training, the crews constantly rotate. "It's hard to say which combination is best," said Witteveen. "I'm just gla to know I'm not the coach who has to choose!" This is Witteveen's first Yngling regatta and the first time the trio has sailed in this combination for a regatta. Nevertheless, Mulder says her country has a very good chance to medal, as evidenced here. "The conditions in China will suit us well," said Mulder. US SAILING's Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year (2005/07) Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.) with crew Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) won today's medal race but still fell short of the podium, finishing sixth overall. The trio, which has won this event four times, is on the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and hopes to represent the USA at the Olympics.
As the host country for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, China, which sent two teams to compete in the Ynglings and one in Stars, gets an automatic berth in each sailing class while other countries must earn theirs. The Yngling and Star classes are both holding their World Championships in Miami (next week and in April, respectively) to determine the last few countries to qualify.
"As the host country we are very happy to welcome all sailors coming to Qingdao," said China's Yngling skipper Song Xia Qun, who was leading the Rolex Miami OCR fleet after opening day.
In addition to title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., the 2008 Rolex Miami OCR is also sponsored by: AlphaGraphics, Nautica, LaserPerformance, Gill, New England Ropes, Sperry Top-Sider, Extrasport, RIBCRAFT, Nikon, Harken, Team McLube, and Trinity Yachts.
On-demand video of racing by T2p.tv is available at www.rolexmiamiocr.org, where complete results also can be found.
About the Rolex Miami OCR
Established in 1990 by US SAILING, the Rolex Miami OCR annually draws elite sailors Olympic and Paralympic medalists and hopefuls from around the world. In non-Olympic years, the regatta is especially important as a ranking regatta for sailors hoping to qualify for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which annually distinguish the top three sailors in each Olympic or Paralympic class. The 2008 Rolex Miami OCR consists of five days of fleet racing from Monday January 28 through Friday, February 1, and one day of top-ten medal racing (for Olympic classes only) on Saturday, February 2, replicating the new Olympic format that will debut in Qingdao.
Regatta Headquarters are at the US Sailing Center, where the Laser classes also will be located. The Stars will be hosted at Coral Reef Yacht Club, the Ynglings at Key Biscayne Yacht Club, and all Paralympic classes at Shake-A-Leg Miami's facilities. The City of Miami has also joined to support the event.
About Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc.
Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America's Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including supporting the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, and offshore, one-design and women's events. In 2008, Rolex will sponsor over 20 prestigious yachting events globally, including New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex and the US-IRC Rolex National Championship, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Big Boat Series, Rolex Capri Sailing Week, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Rolex Fastnet Race, and the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.
About US SAILING
The Rolex Miami OCR is organized by US SAILING, national governing body of the sport. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the organization provides leadership for the sport of sailing in the United States. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR Top-Three Results
Final Day 6
Laser (23 boats) -- 13 races
1. Maciej Grabowski (POL), 2-1-6-4-2-5--1-2-3-4-2-6, 38
2. Marcin Rudawski (POL), -3-4-2-4-4-2-5-7-2-5-5-2, 45
3. Anders Nyholm (DEN), -5-2-1-10-3-5-4-3-4-1-4-4, 46
Laser Radial (39 boats) -- 12 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-4-1-1-3-5-7-2--2-1-14, 41
2. Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla., USA), 3-1-3-2-1-12-2-1-9-8--2, 44
3. Karin Soderstrom (SWE), 7-[40/OCS]-10-5-4-1-12-6-2-7-2-6, 62
Star (66 boats) - 9 races
1. Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau (FRA), 7-1-4-[34/BFD]-5-3-3-5-2, 30
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), 6-2-1-5-7-1--2-14, 38
3. Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria (SUI), 2-1-6-11-4-2-4--16, 46
Yngling (28 boats) -- 13 races
1. Mandy Mulder/Mary Faber/Merel Witteveen (NED), 10-5--5-2-11-1-7-2-4-6-9-14, 76
2. Ekaterina Skudina,/Diana Krutskikh/Natalia Ivanova (RUS), 19-2-3-3-9-1-5--4-12-7-1-20, 86
3. Renee Groeneveld/ Annemieke Bes/ Marge Kampen (NED), 13-9-9-8-8-12--6-5-8-5-13-8, 104
2.4mR (25 boats) -- 12 races
1. Damien Seguin (FRA), 4-2-1-3-1-3--4-4-4-7-2, 35
2. Stellan Berlin (SWE), 2-7-2-4-2-6-7-2--8-5-5, 50
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 1-9-[26/OCS]-2-4-1-3-10-8-7-4-12, 61
SKUD-18 (10 boats) -- 11 races
1. Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Marblehead, Mass., USA), 1-1-1-1-1-2-3-1-2-1-[11/DNS], 14
2. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J./Boca Raton, Fla., USA), -3-2-2-2-5-1-2-1-2-1, 21
3. John McRoberts/Stacie Louttit (CAN), 3-2-3-4-4-1--4-3-3-6, 33
Sonar (11 boats) -- 10 races
1. Jens Kroker/Tobias Schuetz/Siegmund Mainka (GER), 1-3-2-2-1-2-2-1--5, 19
2. Bruno Jourden/Herve Larhant/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA), 2-4-3-7-[12/DSQ]-1-6-5-3-1, 32
3. Paul McCarthy/Richard Whealey/Paul Ryan (IRL), 5--6-3-6-6-3-3-6-2, 40
07. April 267
and becoming the first woman to win Olympic Gold At Sydney 2000