Gold! Gold, I tell 'ee. Gold, in them thar doldrums, damn yer eyes! Ahh, hahahahahaha! We 'opes you'll forgive us old sea dogs splicin' the mainbrace in honour of our crew what's brought treasure back to these shores. Aye, aye! It's first mate Andrew Simpson o' Chertsey and his cap'n Iain Percy takin' our golden haul to five in the Star class sailing. Ahh, hahahaha... [That's enough piracy - Scurvy Landlubbing Ed]
The excellent YachtPals site explains that the Star class (pictured) and the womens' smaller Yngling vessel are the only two Olympic boats with a keel. Percy and Simpson, friends for the last twenty five years, had gradually fought their way back from obscurity to pole position in this event that tends to favour heavyweight builds and showed the utmost determination in holding off their Swedish and Brazilian rivals to claim Team London's fifth gold. Simpson, a training partner for both Percy and Ben Ainslie in some of their previous Olympic gold preparations said afterwards:
At first tears burst into my eyes. I was just so shocked. After so many years of hardship, to achieve this, here with your best friend is the best feeling in the world!
Earlier, Enfield's Will Howden had guided his Tornado multihull to victory in the medal race, though unfortunately this only lifted him and partner Leigh McMillan a few places to sixth as it's only basically a glorified double points race. They did at least secure themselves a little piece of history since this class, and multihulls in general, will be absent from the Dorset coast in four years' time after the International OIympic Committee apparently asked the sailing authorities to drop any one of eleven events from their roster for next time.
Over at the show jumping in Hong Kong, Ben Maher was also handily placed to take a medal, but, in the final round, once his horse, Rolette, had neatly dislodged the furthest pole from one fence with her hind legs she went on to demonstrate that she had learned from her mistake by having pretty much everything else afterwards down in the same manner, which was a pity considering how excellently she'd carried the rookie Olympic rider over several days prior to that point. Restoring some symmetry, the 20 faults incurred in that round resulted in 20th place for Maher who looks set for a bright Olympic future.
Picture via Johann-Nikolaus Andreae's Flickr stream.
Later today, the women's hockey team face Australia in the battle for what would be a very creditable fifth place at 4am (all times BST), while our penultimate non-relay competitor, Athens 2004 silver medallist diver Peter Waterfield, starts at noon in the 10m Platform Avoiding Being Upstaged By Tom Daley preliminaries at noon, with the semi-final and final both set for tomorrow. Waterfield's appearance in Beijing was delayed as he awaited the birth of his own child (a son) a month ago. We're betting he won't give home a call to check on him during tomorrow's proceedings. James DeGale, already assured of a bronze, tries to turn it into gold or silver at 8am in his middleweight boxing semi-final against Irishman Darren Sutherland.
Over in the Bird's Nest, Phillips Idowu was torn between satisfaction at gaining his best performance at a major tournament with his best performance of the season and dismay at only taking silver when he was the favourite and unbeaten this year. We hope in a few days time he can feel proud of his great leap forward and be spurred on to find those extra few centimetres in Stratford. Larry Achike came in seventh. Jade Johnson will be hoping to do better than Larry in today's long jump final starting at 12:20pm, but she probably won't do as well as Phillips.
Our male 4x100 relay runners Simeon Williamson and Tyrone Edgar must surely have been dismayed that their medal chances were derailed in a mix-up between two non-Londoners (harumph!), but the women's foursome, three of which came from London, survived the pervasive baton madness to reach today's final at 2:15pm. The 4x400m women's relay is at 12:40pm and may feature Croydon's Donna Fraser and also gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu if she isn't being rested for the final.
In the women's 1500m, Susan Scott will need to hide from Brendan after fourth place in a slow heat saw her eliminated, while Daniel Awde began his international decathlon education with a first day that saw him in 26th place at its close. His second and final day of competition opens with the 110m hurdles at 2am and climaxes with its own metric mile at 2:40pm.