In an exciting finale to the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition Spain's Tamara Echegoyen overcame Olivia Price (AUS) 3-2 in a thrilling Women's Match Racing final played out in front of the Nothe spectator area.
Winds of up to 25 knots blew across the course and with the scores level heading into the final race it would be winner takes all. A penalty turn for Price proved to be the deciding factor as Echegoyen comfortably won the final race to take gold.
Echegoyen and her crew of Sofia Toro and Angela Pumariega were the surprise package of the regatta and caused many stirs along the way and were deserved winners.
The Spaniards were reduced to tears when they crossed the finish line and Pumariega said, "We are very happy, it's a dream. We never imagined we would win the gold medal. We were not the favourites. When we crossed the line we didn't believe it."
Price meanwhile was chuffed with her silver, "The medal means a lot. It's been wonderful. I've enjoyed every minute of being here. We're really happy with silver. We didn't give up. Everything's just been amazing."
Victories swung each way early on as both teams set themselves out to take a win each in the first two matches but as the pressure mounted the competition heated up.
In the third race Price was flung from her boat after losing control at high speed on the first downwind leg in the strongest and biggest waves of London 2012 so far. The Australian had just powered her way past Echegoyen when they lost control and careered into an unplanned gybe that flung Price into the water.
Price's crew, Curtis and Whitty heaved their helm back on board but the Spaniards were too far ahead for them to catch as they took a 2-1 lead.
"One of the waves picked the boat up and we Chinese-gybed,"
said Price. "The conditions were quite wild and I just guess I wasn't holding on quite enough and I got swept out the back by a wave. I've never fallen out of the boat before and it was a little bit of a shock to the system."
On the Australian capsize Pumariega said, "We realised, but we thought she lost control of the boat but we didn't see her in the water. It's not good to win a point like this, but it is the game, it is match racing."
The Australians were unfazed by their helms quick dip and bounced back to take the fourth race win to level the final.
In the deciding race Price lost the lead when they were penalised for obstructing the Spanish boat and had to take a penalty turn, leaving them on the chase for the rest of the match, to take the silver medal.
In the bronze medal match 2012 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Lehtinen brushed Skudina aside in the first match to take the bullet by eight seconds. Skudina fought back in the second to level the tie but the Fin regained her lead in the third match.
In the fourth flight Lehtinen led comfortably on the final run but Skudina caught a wave making for a tight finish. The Fin had already done enough and took the bullet and the bronze medal.
Russia protested and requested redress but it was denied by the on-water jury meaning that the result stood.
ISAF Olympic Website