Paul GOODISON won Great Britain's third gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in today's Laser Medal Race.
(GBR) narrowly missed out on the medals in Athens, but today the 30 year old British skipper was not to be denied. He ruthlessly sailed his only rival for gold out of contention and although he only finished ninth in the Medal Race, the large points lead he had established after the Opening Series meant he still secured overall victory. Vasilij ZBOGAR
of Slovenia, who pipped GOODISON to the bronze medal in Athens, finished second in the Medal Race to win silver, with Italy's Diego ROMERO
"It's just absolutely amazing,"
exclaimed GOODISON, adding that his tactics for the race had been influenced by the light and shifty wind on course area A today. "It might not have been the best way to do it but with the conditions being so tricky, it was the best way of making sure of gold."
GOODISON's medal is the fourth British medal of this Olympic Sailing Competition, and the Laser skipper said the spirit in the British camp was a vital part of his success. "It's a massive team effort. At one point during the regatta, I was not at the top of the board for a couple of days but my team reminded me to have fait in myself. I really would like to thank them for helping me pull through."
ZBOGAR was able to put in a strong performance when it counted today, making the most of every opportunity that presented itself. "I think my advantage is that I deal with pressure better than the others because I've won a bronze medal in Athens before. That's why the others made mistakes,"
The Laser Medal Race got underway in a light northwesterly breeze of around 6 knots. With an 18-point overall lead, provided that GOODISON finished the race the only person that could take gold away from him was Rasmus MYRGREN
(SWE). With that in mind, GOODISON put a tight cover on MYGREN, tracking his every move and pinning him well behind the other eight competitors as the race got underway. Ben AINSLIE had used similar spoiling tactics in Saturday's abandoned Finn Medal Race and GOODISON offered a similar explanation for his approach, "I just wanted to make sure I got the gold at the end of day and there was only one way to guarantee it. Sweden knew it was coming too, but I just had to do what I got to do."
Out towards the right hand side of the course Andrew MURDOCH
(NZL) pull away into the lead and clear air. He led to the first mark and around the course with ZBOGAR never far behind. GOODISON and MYGREN were both well behind at this point, with the Brit eventually releasing his hold on the Swede only after both of them were so far behind they had little chance of catching the rest of the fleet. For GOODISON this meant gold was secured, whilst for MYGREN, who went into the race in the silver medal position, his hopes of standing on the Olympic podium looked set to the fading away.
Back at the front of the race MURDOCH and ZBOGAR pulled out a big lead on the downwind and from there were never in danger of being caught. The big battle was for the bronze medal, with Diego ROMERO of Italy needing to put one boat between himself and Portuguese skipper Gustavo LIMA
. The Italian, who sailed for Argentina in the Sydney and Athens Games, was up to third by the downwind mark and held on to that position throughout the remainder of the race. At the front MURDOCH took the bullet just a few seconds ahead of ZBOGAR with the Slovenian doing another to win the Olympic silver medal. ROMERO came over in third, followed by Julio ALSOGARAY
(ARG). LIMA meanwhile was struggling to make up ground in the light winds and eventually finished fifth, giving bronze to Italy, their first medal of this Olympic Games. GOODISON crossed the line in ninth to take the gold medal with an eight-point winning margin. MYGREN came a distant 10th and as a result fell from second to sixth overall.
Overall Results - click here