Weymouth, England. The United States was knocked out of the chase for Olympic sailing medals for the first time since 1936 when women’s match racing skipper Anna Tunnicliffe was beaten in the quarterfinals by Finland on Wednesday.
Tunnicliffe, who was born in England and moved to the United States when she was 12, was the only remaining American with a chance for a medal.
Tunnicliffe wiped away tears as she spoke of the disappointing results. She won the gold medal in the Laser Radial in 2008 and was among the favorites in the three-woman match-racing class.
Dean Brenner, the outgoing chairman of the US Olympic Sailing Program, said there’s “no way to spin it” after the Americans failed to place anyone in the top three in 10 classes. Three classes are still sailing, but the American crews failed to reach the medals round.
After taking a gold and silver at Beijing, the Americans came in with hopes for three or four medals.
While the Americans under-performed, the Australians continued to pick up gold medals.
The 49er crew of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen sailed three laps of honor to collect the gold medal they had clinched two days earlier.
With two golds in hand and two other crews sailing well, the Australians could win more sailing gold medals in the London Games than the well-funded British team, which has one so far, by Ben Ainslie in the Finn.
When Outteridge and Jensen came ashore, their teammates lifted them on their shoulders and carried them up the ramp.
“That was a nice touch when they lifted us up on their shoulders,” Outteridge said. “You don’t get that from winning just any event.”
After the games, Outteridge will spend one night at home in Australia before heading to San Francisco for the opening regatta of the second season of the America’s Cup World Series. He’s the skipper of Team Korea.
Australia’s Tom Slingsby won the Laser class gold on Monday. In the men’s 470 medals race Thursday, either Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia or Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell of Britain will win gold.
In the women’s 470, the British crew of Hannah Mills and Saski Clark pulled into a tie with New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. They are the only teams that can win the gold in Friday’s medals race.