A clear and sunny Day 8 of adrenaline-packed Olympic racing on Guanabara Bay proved one thing: medal races are upon us.
Men’s Laser and women’s Laser Radial wrapped up their opening series races on Saturday afternoon; sailers will compete for Olympic gold on Monday.
Men’s 49er and women’s 49erFX
High fives were exchanged as Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt crossed the finish of race five of the 49erFX opening series. The dynamic American duo has officially won their first Olympic race.
The 49erFX, which made its Olympic debut in Rio on Friday, was even more exhilarating in race six. Although New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech lead for most of the race, Denmark, the Netherlands, the U.S., Spain and Brazil fought for the number two spot, with all still in close proximity of the Kiwis.
Heading into race seven on Monday, Denmark’s Jena Hansen and Katja Salskoc-Iversen are in the lead, gold medal favorites and hometown heroes, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil are in second and France’s Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan are in third in the fleet overall standiings.
Team USA climbed six spots from 15th and are now in the top 10. They are ranked ninth overall after top-five results in their last three races.
New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke dominated in the first two races of the opening series.
They didn’t win any of Saturday afternoon’s races but still hold the lead heading into race seven on Monday. Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel are only three net points behind the Kiwis with 18.
Mixed Nacra 17
Performing well on Thursday, with results of 4, 1, 1, and 5 in races three through six, Australian’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are still in the overall lead with 46 net points, but there is a tie for second overall between Ben Saxon and Nicola Groves of Great Britain and Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza with 49 net points.
Americans Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee capsized their catamaran in the day’s first race, and fell to 16th overall on Thursday, but improved on Saturday with decent results. They jumped four spots and are ranked 12th overall heading into the final three races of the opening series on Sunday. They will need to rank among the top 10 to advance to the medal race.
Great Britain’s Scott Giles continues to impress, winning the seventh race of the Finn regatta; he maintains the top spot after finishing third in the eighth race. Giles will be nearly impossible to catch if he continues his dominance. Heading into the final two opening series races on Sunday before the medal races on Tuesday, Giles has only accrued 22 net points. In second-place overall, Slovenia’s Vasilij Zogbar has 38.
After a costly disqualification in race six, American Caleb Paine put together decent results in races seven and eight with 17th and seventh. He ended the day 15th overall with 79 net points.