Thanks to Caleb Paine of San Diego, the American sailing team will not go home sans hardware from the 2016 Olympics as they did in 2012. The 25-year-old Finn sailor, competing in his first Olympics, led the way around every mark in Tuesday’s medal race, held in moderate breeze. Brit Giles Scott had already wrapped up the Finn gold medal, and Slovenian Vasilij Zbogar secured silver, the third Olympic medal of his career, on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course.
"It’s pretty awesome; it’s been a pretty tough regatta, and to be able to come away with a medal at the end is a great feeling," said Paine. "It was a tough push and a hard medal race, but it makes it easier when you hit the right shifts off the bat, and I just had to make sure I didn’t mess it up. I was fortunate to establish a lead and let everyone else make mistakes, and I sailed the best race I could.”
Other American sailors who have a chance at metal include Annie Haeger and her crew, another San Diegan, Briana Provancha, in the women’s 470. They go into the medal race, which counts for double points, effectively tied with the 2012 Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie from New Zealand and reigning world champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France of France. The Brits Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark already have the gold sewn up.
In an unlikely but not impossible scenario, if Stu McNay and David Hughes can win the medal race and the Australians finish last, the Americans will just sneak bronze in the men’s 470 too.
So far today, racing has been delayed by weather — the light breeze is not adequate to overcome the current. If racing isn’t completed today, tomorrow’s make-up day will be the last chance.