Thirty-eight athletes represent 19 nations in the Women's Two Person Dinghy event sailed in the 470 dinghy at the 2008 Olympic Games - get the low down on the event here...
The 470 was first on the Olympic Programme in 1976 and has remained there ever since. Initially an open event, the 470 gained two fleets and became the first women's only sailing event at the 1988 Games.
The 470 is both a technical and tactical boat and popular the world over with the World Championship events regularly attracting well over 100 competing team. This strength in depth means that the reigning World Champions in the class did not even qualify to compete at the Games! The gold medal winning crew from Athens has also moved on, although the silver medal winning helm from Spain and the bronze medal team from Sweden will be represented in Qingdao.
At A Glance
Event: Women's Two Person Dinghy
Racing Dates: 11-18 August
Medal Race: 18 August
Find out more about the event and the equipment and past champions here
Click here for a full list of all previous 470 medallists
In build up to the Athens Olympic Games, the Greek team of Sofia BEKATOROU
and Emilia TSOULFA
dominated the 470 class, winning four consecutive World Championship titles and then taking Olympic gold at a canter. Following that success the team went their separate ways, leaving the Women's 470 fleet wide open for this Olympic cycle. Initially the Dutch team of Marcelien DE KONING
and Lobke BERKHOUT
, lost their national trials for Athens 2004 in a very close battle, looked set to continue where the Greeks left off. In the shadow of Athens, they chose Jacco Koops as their coach and became stronger than ever winning three World titles in a row. However they missed the podium at this year's Worlds and are better known for their abilities in stronger conditions than the light winds expected in Qingdao.
This year's top team has been Ai KONDO
and Naoko KAMATA
of Japan, now ranked #1 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. They are Asia's best performing 470 crew and gold medallists at the Asian Games in Doha 2006. Looking at their career highlights, light airs seem to suit them very well. Giulia CONTI
and Giovanna MICOL
of Italy, the world #2 crew, also merit high expectations. Despite being just 22, CONTI is already an experienced sailor on the match racing circuit and competed at the Athens in the Yngling class. The Italian team are extremely consistent and increased the expectations surrounding them when they won the silver medal at the 470 Worlds in January.
Another team who will relish the expected Qingdao conditions are Australians Elise RECHICHI
and Tess PARKINSON
. They are one of the youngest and most talented teams participating in the 470 fleet, quickly turning a glittering youth career into success on the senior circuit. In August last year, they climbed the podium for a gold medal at the last Olympic Test Event. In 2008, they won a bronze medal in both senior International Championships, the 470 Women Worlds and Europeans. Just like Australia's Men's 470 crew, the RECHICHI and PARKINSON are coached by Victor Kovalenko, on a mission to maintain his list of Olympic medals.
Other crews to look out for include Athens bronze medallists Therese TORGERSSON
and Vendela SANTEN
of Sweden. They might not have taken many top three places at major events lately, but their ability to make impressive efforts at crucial moments, make them serious contenders. The French challenge from Ingrid PETITJEAN
and Gwendolyn LEMAITRE
is also likely to be strong. PETIJEAN has been amongst the top players in the class for over six years with crew Nadege DOUROUX, but because of personal circumstances, DOUROUX has handed over her place at this year's Games to Gwendolyn LEMAITRE. Undoubtedly, PETITJEAN is one of world's best and experienced two person dinghy helms, and with LEMAITRE a new dynamic may be establish.
The principal qualification regatta for the Women's 470 event was the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal where 13 of the 19 nations where decided. The 2008 470 Worlds in Melbourne, Australia decided final five national places. In addition there is one automatic place for the host nation China.
Find out more on the qualification events here
About the 470
The 470 was designed in 1963 by Andre CORNU (FRA) as a modern fibreglass planing dinghy with trapeze and spinnaker.
In 1969 the class was given international status and has been on the Olympic programme since 1976, sailing initially as an open event.
The 470 was the first dinghy of the modern Olympic era, could accommodate light and medium weight crews and be sailed as effectively by men as women.
In 1984, Cathy FOSTER
(GBR) became not only the first woman to helm a boat in an open event at the modern Games, but the first women in history to win a race at the Olympics.
In 1988, the IYRU (now ISAF) created the first women's only event and selected the 470. In parallel a men's double-handed dinghy event was created, also using the 470. A technical and tactical boat, the 470 is popular around the world. World and continental championships take place annually.
Argentina - Fernanda SESTO and Consuelo MONSGUR
Ages: 31 and 38
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 19
Australia - Elise RECHICHI and Tess PARKINSON
Ages: 22 and 21
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 8
Austria - Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER
Ages: 33 and 26
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 9
Brazil - Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Isabel SWAN
Ages: 27 and 24
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 20
Czech Republic - Lenka SMIDOVA and Lenka MRZILKOVA
Ages: 33 and 20
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 15
France - Ingrid PETITJEAN and Gwendolyn LEMAITRE
Age 27 and 27
ISAF World Sailing Rankings: 3
Germany - Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ
Ages: 29 and 35
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 11
Great Britain - Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK
Ages: 26 and 28
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 4
Israel - Nike KORNECKI and Vered BOUSKILA
Ages: 25 and 25
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 10
Italy - Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL
Ages: 22 and 26
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 2
Japan - Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA
Ages: 27 and 25
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 1
Netherlands - Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT
Ages: 30 and 27
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 6
PR China - Wen YIMEI and Yu CHUNYAN
Ages: 25 and 23
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 18
Singapore - Liying TOH and Hui Min Deborah ONG
Ages: 23 and 17
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 33
Slovenia - Vesna DEKLEVA PAOLI and Klara MAUCEC
Ages: 33 and 30
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 37
Spain - Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and Laia TUTZO
Ages: 34 and 27
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 28
Sweden - Therese TORGERSSON and Vendela SANTEN
Ages: 32 and 30
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 5
Switzerland - Emmanuelle ROL and Anne-Sophie THILO
Ages: 22 and 20
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 14
USA - Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER
Ages: 26 and 29
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 7