Russians Sweep Americans, Face Germany for Gold
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) _ The United States is out of the chase for the Soling gold medal in Olympic yachting after only one race this morning.
Russia wrapped up a 3-0 sweep of the Americans in the semifinals and will race against Germany for the title. The German team beat Britain, also 3-0.
Californians Jeff Madrigali, Jim Barton and Kent Massey had finished second in the fleet racing portion. They’ll try to secure only the second yachting medal for the U.S. when they face Britain’s Andrew Beadsworth, Barry Parkin and Adrian Stead in the bronze medal match.
Russia and Germany both arrived this morning with 2-0 leads in the best-of-5 series semifinals, which were carried over when a severe thunderstorm prevented hit the competition Thursday.
Germany’s Jochen Schuemann, Thomas Flack and Bernd jaekel won the fleet portion and will try to claim the gold against the Russian trio of Georgiy Shayduko, Dimitriy and Igor Skalin, who were fifth in the fleet. The final later today is best-of-7.
Though the U.S. women’s 470 class sailors didn’t get a medal, they’re more than satisfied with their performance at the Atlanta Games.
Skipper Kris Stookey of Darien, Conn., and her crew, Louise Van Voorhis of Webster, N.Y., had a solid shot at the bronze. But they wound up in fourth place overall after finishing 11th in the 470′s final race Thursday.
``We are very happy with our accomplishment, but we won’t get any credit for it,″ Stookey said. ``This was our best finish ever in an international competition, so we are very proud.″
Courtenay Becker-Dey has won the only yachting medal for the Americans, a bronze in the Europe class.
In the women’s 470 Thursday, Spain’s Theresa Zabell and Begona Via Dufresne won the final race and the gold. They beat silver medalists Yumiko Shige and Alicia Kinoshita of Japan by 11 points.
Ruslana Taran and Olena Pakholchik of Ukraine got the bronze. They had started the day tied for third with the Americans, but pulled ahead with a second-place finish in Thursday’s race.
Zabell and her crew also won the gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Stookey pointed to Zabell’s experience, as well as that of some other top sailors.
``We tried to accomplish in a year and a half what Theresa Zabell has done in 12 years of sailing,″ Stookey said.
The men’s 470 gold went to Ukraine’s Yevhen Braslavets and Ihor Matviyenko, who didn’t even sail after wrapping up the medal on Tuesday.
Britain’s John Merricks and Ian Walker won the silver. Vitor Rocha and Nuno Barreto of Portugal claimed the bronze, their country’s first medal of the games.
Morgan Reeser, of Wilton Manors, Fla., and Kevin Burnham, of Coral Gables, Fla., were 14th in the final race, dropping to eighth overall.
Reeser was still questioning a disqualification for an early start in the ninth race of the 11-race series, a race the Americans appeared to have won before being dropped to the bottom of the 36-boat fleet.
``We would have had a silver,″ Reeser said. ``I’m happy I had one last time (in Barcelona). They can’t take that away from me. The whole episode was pretty depressing.″