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Olympics: Lovell Ogletree Assured Gold

The USA’s Tornado sailors John Lovell
(New Orleans, La.) and Charlie Ogletree (Houston, Texas/Columbia, N.C.)
secured themselves at least a silver medal today when they won the first of
two races and followed up with a second-place finish. With one race to go on
Saturday, Aug. 28, they are now in second overall, only three points behind
the Austrians, who are the only ones that could keep the USA from gold on

“We won the start in the first race and got a good jump on the fleet
immediately,” said Lovell, who led at every mark of the course. “In the
second race, we did the same thing but started consolidating–covering the
guys we needed to cover, in particular Austria and Argentina–and finished

“Saturday it’s one big race for gold,” continued Lovell, who counts the
Austrians as one of the fastest Tornado teams in the world. “It’s not going
to be easy. Today they were in tenth and we thought ‘we’ve got them!,” but
then, in both races, they grinded back.”

Lovell said the Tornado reserve day tomorrow would be spent taking the
entire boat apart and putting it back together again, to ensure that no
mechanical breakdowns will foil their plans. They also will study the scores
and go over all the different race scenarios that could happen. As
match-racing champions (they won last year’s International Catamaran
Challenge Trophy), Lovell and Ogletree are ready for the one-on-one racing
with Austria that might present itself.

“We have a much better drop race than the Austrians, so we have two
choices,” said Lovell. “We jump on them early and drive them to the back of
the fleet or just go out and win. We’ll make that decision on game day.”

The Star team of Paul Cayard (Kentfield, Calif.) and Phil Trinter (Lorain,
Ohio/Port Washington, N.Y.) also will be studying scores tomorrow before
their medal round on Saturday. They have a chance to medal, but the job will
be much harder. Only silver or bronze is available, with Brazil’s Torben
Grael and Marcelo Ferreira having snagged the gold today.

“Torben has just been in a zone,” said Trinter, “just like we were when we
sailed our Trials.”

Cayard and Trinter turned in a 6-8 today to fall to fourth on the scoreboard
from third yesterday. They are seven points behind Canada, which sits in
third, and nine points behind France, in second.

“I’m disappointed we slid as far as we did today,” said Cayard. “It will be
a tough grind to grind back the seven or nine points, but it can be done.
You can’t beat yourself to death about it, though. I feel we have a medal in
us. Whether or not it’s too late, that’s another question.”

Concluding their series with a final medal race today were the 49ers. The
USA’s Tim Wadlow (San Diego, Calif.) and Pete Spaulding (Miami, Fla.) knew
going into the race that they could do no better than fourth, while Spain,
Ukraine and Great Britain fought it out for what ultimately became gold,
silver and bronze positions, respectively. The team finished 10th in the
race and fell to fifth overall in the standings behind Norway.

“On the last run, the Norwegians were in second and we were in seventh,”
said Wadlow. “We needed to be sixth in order to be tied with Norway and
maintain our fourth overall on a tie-breaker.” At that point the choices
were to follow the parade of boats going to the right side of the course or
roll the dice and split from the pack. Wadlow and Spaulding pulled off a
quick jibe set and banged the left corner, but luck was not waiting there.

“It has been a long journey and pretty awesome,” said Wadlow. “The last
three years we’ve pushed hard and put everything on the table. The British
and the Spanish have been dominating and we have been closing the gap on
them recently, but we didn’t do it in this regatta. They’ve done the
Olympics before, and they put together better races. I have a lot of respect
for them.”

“We’re both disappointed that everything did not go our way,” said
Spaulding. “At the same time, we sailed very well. Fifth is respectable,
especially when you consider where we started with our campaign. Everyone
here is more experienced than us-they’ve been at it twice as long. And we
have to be satisfied with the speed of our progress.”

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2004 at 3:23 pm and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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