|GOLD MEDALISTS: New Zealand's 470 sailors Olivia Powrie (left) and Jo Aleh.|
There's been another Olympic moment to savour before we leave the West Island. Stuff reports on what happened overnight at the sailing regatta:
Gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie had been so focused on treating the Olympic sailing regatta like any other they were struggling to comprehend just what played out on the waters of Weymouth today.Team Jolly, as they have dubbed themselves, sailed their way into the history books on a stunning Dorset day, hammering the British to win gold in the women's 470 class.In winning New Zealand's fourth gold medal of the London Games, the two Aucklanders became the first Kiwi sailors other than windsurfers to win Olympic gold since 1984, when Russell Coutts (Finn) and Rex Sellers and Chris Timms (Tornado) both triumphed off Long Beach, California.They also became the first New Zealand women to win Olympic sailing gold in a dinghy. Barbara Kendall, of course, won on a board in 1992.Aleh, 26, and Powrie, 24, navigated their vessel - which they dubbed 'Muppet', that classic Kiwi term - superbly around the four courses in use here in southern England this week and today was no different, even with so much on the line.As thousands of spectators lined the Nothe to cheer on Brits Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, the Kiwis held their nerve and out-witted the current world champions, who fell apart."Yachting's been struggling a bit back home so it's awesome to win the gold," Aleh said."It's going to take a few days to sink in. We've tried to treat this like any other regatta, because it's a lot easier to separate ourselves from all the pressure and the hype, and it still seems like just another regatta so far," she laughed."I don't know how to switch it off. I'm having a few issues with that, but I'm sure it will sink in."
This is a fabulous performance by Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who are now Olympic champions, keeping our proud sailing tradition alive. We add our congratulations to the flood of good wishes they will already be receiving.
And congratulations too to BMX rider Sarah Walker who finished second in the women's event. After the disappointment of Beijing where Walker narrowly missed a medal, she powered home to claim the silver medal in an event which whilst controversial in its inclusion is spectacular to watch.