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Qingdao. Over and out.

What an epic two weeks it's been here on the coast. I have never experienced anything so exhilarating. It's been a privilege.

The British sailors came here with a big reputation. They lived up to the billing and then some. Four golds, a silver and a bronze - six medals from 11 events. You couldn't ask for more.

Continue reading "An epic two weeks on the coast"


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Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson's gold medal was the perfect prize to handover to the next Olympic sailing regatta in Weymouth 2012.

Great Britain's medal target in sailing was four - to achieve that in golds with an additional silver and bronze was beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

Percy and Simpson's victory in the Star class was pure gold in every sense of the word. The lifelong friends showed great resilience to squeeze through an extremely testing medal race to secure first place.

Continue reading "Sailors provide perfect handover"



A gold medal was sweet reward for Sheffield's Paul Goodison after being so disappointed with fourth place in Athens he nearly quit the sport.

But he had to display the most ruthless of tactics to make sure of it.

Four years ago, Goodison saw his medal chance slip through his fingers like a runaway anchor chain in the final minutes of the final race.

Continue reading "Goodison finally steps out of Ainslie's shadow"



Double gold in the sailing on Sunday... what a memorable day.

And what a difference a day makes. The weather here in Qingdao goes from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Saturday saw the Finn and Yngling medal races postponed.

Poor old Ben Ainslie had two starts called off within a minute of the horn and then, when they finally got under way, they scrapped the race at the halfway point while he was in pole position for gold.

Continue reading "A golden day on the water"



It was like Tyson Gay running the 100m on a treadmill - going nowhere fast. That was how one of the sailors summed up the conditions here.

The warning signs were there on Wednesday when a number of fleets had their races postponed, but Thursday was the first full day of racing lost.

Continue reading "Psychology key to GB's waiting game on becalmed Yellow Sea"



There's nothing like a hug to make you feel good.

Stevie Morrison turned me down in the mixed zone yesterday saying that he'd rather have a stiff drink after he and Ben Rhodes experienced more frustrations in the 49er - so the Mayor of Qingdao got one instead.

He made an impromptu visit to the team hotel last night.

Manager Stephen Park was on 5 Live with Simon Mayo at the time but once he had come off air he dragged me upstairs to the club suite on the eighth floor to meet him.

Continue reading "Fingers crossed for frustrated 49ers"



Qingdao

Ben Ainslie, Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson are right where they want to be at the midway point of their events - you couldn't have asked for more.

Top of the leaderboard in both the Finn and the Yngling with just four more races to go before this weekend's grand finale.

It's no mean feat when you consider how difficult it is to sail here.

Continue reading "So far so good for Team GB on coast of Yellow Sea"



Qingdao

I can fully appreciate the frustration for sailors competing with the unpredictable weather - although judging by the conditions in Beijing I'm more than happy to be here.

At least you can see the sun!

We were supposed to have official practice races on all four courses today, similar to that in football with pre-season matches, but the sea was as calm as a millpond and most of the sailors ended up ashore sitting around waiting for some wind to kick in.

There's only so much tinkering, fine tuning or positive thinking you can do. Otherwise it's back to the hotel for guitar sounds, table tennis and DVDs.

There's serious competition on the table tennis front.

Continue reading "Sailors twiddle their thumbs - and table tennis bats - as wind dies"



Qingdao

It seems China's finest Tsingtao may have to wait a few days.

The British team are away in Shanghai at the moment for some serious rest and relaxation before competition begins. It's been pretty full-on for the guys so this is their final chance for a proper get together.

Manager Stephen Park says that one of the most draining things about the Chinese summer is the 100% humidity which means the temperatures of around 25C feels more like 40!

I'm sure Team Mirabaud will have hit the spa by now..

Continue reading "Will gold medal for Ayton mean new name for fiancé Dempsey?"



GB sailor Ben Ainslie (left) and cyclist Bradley Wiggins

Just six British Olympians have won three or more Olympic gold medals.

Continue reading "Olympic countdown - 3 days - Triple gold"



If you've got it, flaunt it.

Sailors are no strangers to getting their kit off for the cameras and Iain Percy is no exception.

The Sydney Olympic gold medallist is one of Britain's highest-profile sailors. He says one of his greatest strengths is not taking himself too seriously and he was one five members of Skandia Team GBR who stripped off and covered themselves in gold.

Continue reading "Stripping for sailing gold"



Last month, we produced a shortlist of 10 British athletes and asked you for your thoughts - both on the ones we named, and any other athletes occupying your thoughts ahead of the Beijing Games.

We had a great response, which certainly affected at least one decision on who made it into our final 10 to watch. And now we're publishing full profiles of each of those 10 athletes.

Continue reading "Our final 10 to watch"


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