Which Olympic athlete are you?


So on the BBC site you can get your height and weight and then compare against the olympic athletes to see who most matches you ….. Three watersport females – it must be true

Ainslie firing up after his bad performance in olympics


FROM RYA

Ben Ainslie Finn for Great Britain

Ainslie fired up to redeem “terrible day”

Ben Ainslie hopes what he described as a “terrible” day on day two of the Olympic Regatta at Weymouth and Portland will fire him up for the rest of the week.
The three-time Olympic champion sits third overall in the Finn  class after four races, 11 points behind overall leader Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), after posting scores of six and 12 from his two races today.
He said: “It was a difficult day. For whatever reason, I wasn’t finding the wind or reading the wind very well. I don’t think I went the right way once all day so that was pretty frustrating. That’s a challenge to overcome and hopefully I can get my act together for the rest of the week. I’m not very happy with that at all. I had a terrible day. I really didn’t perform and hopefully it will fire me up for the rest of the week.”
Ainslie, who picked up two seconds yesterday, enjoyed a clean start in race one and managed to once again capitalise on good pace downwind to punch his way clear of the pack, working his way through to fourth at the halfway point. But with Dane Hogh-Christensen once again revelling in the shifting conditions, Ainslie lost ground upwind, rounding the fifth mark in sixth then crossing the line in the same position.
The Brit was handed a massive boost at the start of race two when Hogh-Christensen got stuck on the pin end boat, forcing him to do two penalty turns.
However, the delay to his start actually ended up playing into the Dane’s hands as he was able to get a clear view of which side of the course was paying off and headed straight in that direction. When Ainslie, who had gone out to the left-hand side, saw his rival head right he immediately changed direction to temper Hogh-Christensen’s progress.
But although the move initially helped the 35-year-old Brit, he couldn’t find an answer to the Dane’s exceptional turn of pace throughout the rest of the race and trailed across the line in 12th, while Hogh-Christensen consolidated his overall lead with a seventh. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) sits second overall after a fourth and second today.
Ainslie had been keen to play down hype before the regatta that the gold was simply his to lose and he makes no bones that he will up his game if he is to claim his record-breaking fourth Olympic crown.
He added: “Hopefully it will begin to get a lot better. It goes without saying it will have to go a lot better otherwise I’ll be a very unhappy man. I certainly have to sail a lot better than that for the rest of the week. It’s a number of very small things; there is a very fine line between success and failure at this level so I will certainly have to raise my game for the coming races.”
The Finn class is scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday 31 July) with both of their races (race five and six) scheduled to take place on the Weymouth Bay South.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August. The Finn medal race is scheduled for Sunday 5 August (2pm).

Kitesurfing pips windsurfing for the 2016 olympic slot


The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has confirmed that kiteboarding will replace windsurfing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Council voted 19 to 17 to have kiteboarding in the capital of Brazil.

The ISAF Council decided that kiteboarding should debut in the Olympic Games, in the Men’s and Women’s board events. In November 2011, an evaluation group was appointed to examine kiteboarding formats with the board events for Rio 2016 defined as “windsurfing and/or kiteboarding”.

The Evaluation Group recommended that kiteboarding be included in the ISAF Event family including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships but Council went one step further and selected Kiteboarding for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition as well.

The ISAF Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Committee will consider and make further recommendations to Council on the implementation of the inclusion of kiteboarding at their meeting in November 2012 at the ISAF Annual Conference.

“These announcements mark a new era for sailing and we welcome the new classes into the ISAF family. The equipment selections have fulfilled the criteria set out by the Evaluation Panel and we look forward to seeing the boats not only at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the ISAF Sailing World Cup and ISAF Sailing World Championships”, says ISAF President Göran Petersson.

“Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games.”

New Olympic velopark gets mixed reception


London Olympic Legacy Velopark – the original plan
From today (Monday) potential users of the planned Olympic Velopark can have their say on the designs for the road, mountain bike and BMX facilities that will form part of London’s 2012 Olympic legacy. road.cc

Last Thursday in what was billed as a pre-consultation event the new designs for the road and mountain bike areas were unveiled at a public meeting in Stratford Town Hall. The meeting was attended by around 30 people with interested parties from cycling groups across the London boroughs represented, as well as British Cycling and the Eastway Users Group (EUG) representatives from all sides that we spoke to agreed that the meeting was positive and constructive even so reaction to the plans was mixed – essentially it boils down to the thorny matter of access, what needs to be decided before the designs go forward for planning permission later this month is where the balance lies between ‘velo’ and ‘park’ in the proposed Olympiic Velopark.

So what’s changed from the original plan you can see at the top of this story? Well the good news is that the road circuit has actually gotten slightly longer, 1.656Km instead of 1.6Km and the crossing of the River Lea has also been retained from the original design. Both British Cycling and the EUG were very keen to retain such an important element of variation in the circuit from the original design. The eastern third of the circuit around the BMX park is virtually unchanged, the big difference is that the river crossing becomes much more of an out and back affair – freeing up access to more of the riverbank, which is what the OPLC wanted – now, when the circuit comes back over the river after a longish straight it takes in a circuit around the outside of the velodrome.

The Olympic Park road circuit Mk11, slightly longer and now centred on the Olympic Velodrome

The other big advantage claimed for the new road circuit design is it’s flexibility, as well as using it as a full circuit it can be used as either a fast truncated circuit – omitting the loop of the velodrome, or as up to three smaller coaching circuits. The full circuit has 23m of elevation change – the same as the old Eastway.

From what we understand aside from some technical questions about run off areas and fencing around the bailey bridges that take the circuit across and back over the River Lea (oh and slight concerns that the circuit narrows from 6m to 5m on the bridges) people were broadly satisfied.

There was less satisfaction though over the BMX and mountain bike facilities, according to the EUG report on the meeting the point was forcibly made that existing Olympic BMX park is simply too difficult to be left as a legacy provision unchanged. The feeling was that it will need fencing off as a matter of public safety. There were also concerns as to how suitable an Olympic standard course was as a legacy provision for non-Olympic standard riders the point was made that of 400 entrants to the recent SE Championships 120 withdrew when they saw the “gnarliness’ of the course at practice.

Possibly more problematic though are issues surrounding the mountain bike course, this too is bigger than the original plan and now also comes back under the A12 to occupy what appears as an empty rectangle of land to the east of the road and BMX circuits on the original plan – which you can see at the top of this story. The idea from the planners is that the mountain bike circuit ‘reaches out’ from the park to the neighbouring borough of Waltham Forest which is adjacent to the park’s north eastern boundary. The problem is that the boundaries to the MTB area are open and the portion of the circuit that lies south of the A12 is bisected by a diagonal path which to the consternation of the EUG only appeared on the new plan as late as mid-September. While marshalling should prevent problems during actual races the concern is what happens when the circuit is simply being used for training or leisure purposes, that is still a concern for the road circuit too.

“The designers and planners don’t seem to appreciate how disadvantaged any cyclist is by all the things that the general public does in parks. Footballs and dogs are disasters waiting to happen if you get too close,” Michael Humphreys told us and anyone who has used the commuter routes through some of London’s royal parks will know exactly what he means.

While the old Eastway was effectively walled in so riders could race or train secure in the knowledge that a member of the public was not going to wander across their path unexpectedly, or indeed at all accessl to the new Velopark would appear to be largely open. The Velopark itself is a part of the much bigger Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park one of the biggest tasks given to the Olympic planners is integrating the park and all its facilities with the existing local communities to avoid the creation of a gentrified Olympic enclave and spread the benefits of Olympic regeneration out in to the boroughs that border the Olympic site.

The Lea Valley Regional Park Authority intends to have the new cycling facilities up and running by the autumn of 2013, there’s plenty to discuss before then and users, and potential users of the Velopark can have their say this week 7-11 November before the planning application is made on November 30th – once that is done there will be a further statutory period for the public to comment on the planning application.

Inevitable a lesson in sailing from Ainslie on the Finn


With all the inevitability of night following day, so double Finn Olympic Champion Ben Ainslie took the Olympic Test Event in Weymouth with a day to spare and then wrapped it up in perfect style by winning the medal race as well to end the week with a 31 point winning margin on the rest of the fleet. Jonathan Lobert of France went home with the silver medal with Pieter Jan Postma of The Netherlands took the bronze.

It was clear from the very first race that Ainslie was sailing to win. Doing penalty turns on the start line in race one was not the best start, but he climbed through the fleet to cross in second, before emphatically winning the second race. He also had problems on day two with several mid-fleet mark roundings but always managed to pull off something special at the end to record a fifth and sixth.

Then he started getting dangerous. A third in race five was as bad as it got before winning five out of the next six races, including the moral boosting medal race on the ‘spectator friendly’ course under the Nothe headland.

Day five was the clincher. In the lighter winds, he won the first race of the day with ease. For the final race only one boat remained a threat, and unfortunately for him that was Postma. Never more dangerous than when he is under threat, Ainslie match raced his opponent out of the start, and crossed the start line 30 seconds after the fleet with Postma another 30 second behind after doing penalty turns.

While Postma never really caught up, Ainslie had other plans and gradually sailed through the fleet mark by mark, eventually overhauling long time race leader Rafa Trujillo from Spain in the final few hundred metres to take his second race win of the day.

If any proof was needed of Ainslie’s complete dominance of this class, then this was it. It was a brilliant masterclass of Finn sailing by one of the best Finn sailors of all time. Though he says it is never easy, he makes it look easy, too easy, running circles round his nearest rivals and making them believe he is unbeatable. And based on his recent form, this is probably not far from the truth.

Good Old Ben is selected again – I feel a 3rd Olympic Gold coming up


 

So Ben Ainslie has done it again. Having dominated the Skandia Sail for Gold event at the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy, the venue for the sailing events of the London 2012 Olympic Games, he has been selected to represent Great Britain at the 2011 Weymouth and Portland International Regatta – the official test event for the Olympic sailing competition. Who is betting against him getting selected for the Olympics next year and winning a fourth gold medal? Answer: not many.

But spare a though for the others. In a sport where only one sailor per nation is allowed in each class, it is tough on anyone who deserves to be there on ability and performance, but cannot be there on nationality grounds. One such sailor is Giles Scott. Having come second to Ainslie in Weymouth this week, he can only contemplate his missed chances and plan for the future. Another might be Ed Wright, the current world champion, who placed fourth in Weymouth, though even he admitted he didn’t have the best week. These three sailors are among the best Finn sailors in the world at the current time, yet only one can get the ticket to Weymouth in 2012. It will be really tough on two of them. All are capable of taking home an Olympic gold medal.

Ainslie is skipping next month’s Finn Europeans in Helsinki as he knows a good result at the test event – and for him that can only mean one thing – is crucial to his selection for the Olympics themselves. He only has one purpose in mind and is only doing what he needs to do to achieve that.

Third place in Weymouth went to the current European champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, from Croatia. He has played second fiddle to Ainslie on a number of occasions and will for sure be looking to turn the tables sometime soon. Probably the most focussed sailor on the circuit after Ainslie, he sails his best when the chips are down and won’t be phased by Ainslie’s domination this season. Dan Slater from New Zealand also took two bullets in Weymouth, which maybe a sign of things to come. It was Slater who almost beat Ainslie at the world championship in 2008, having led most of the regatta, but Ainslie came through right at the end to deny his old rival victory.

And then there is returning double world champion Jonas Hogh-Christensen from Denmark, who surprised everyone with a fifth place finish in Weymouth after three years off the regular circuit. The French team of Jonathan Lobert and Thomas Le Breton are also getting closer, with Lobert in particular putting in some brilliant performances in the last year. And Zach Railey from the USA is also always there or thereabouts, though a few ‘off’ days in Weymouth cost him the chance of a medal. There are, of course, many sailors also other putting together a strong challenge. One thing you can count on is that the next year will be tough for all of them.

However, with just over a year to go to the big show, the excitement of finding out who will make the grade and get their tickets will pale into insignificance if Ainslie continues his current path. If he succeeds it will be THE story of the sailing events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and one of the great stories of the Games.

Skandia Sail for Gold – pre olympic Finn racing


Tougher competition than the Olympics was Ben Ainslie‘s summary of Skandia Sail for Gold 2011. It was medal race day and the tension could be felt throughout the boat park as the elite of each Olympic discipline prepared to be tested

There was so much on the line – possible Olympic selection, ISAF World Cup points, the regatta result and of course a hefty dose of pride. Five hours later and spectators had been treated to some stunning racing, topped off when Ainslie clinically dispatched another rival to take gold. Ainslie’s win sealed Britain’s place as the top nation sailing nation at the 2012 Olympic venue. Australia was the only country that could match the home team’s gold medal tally across 13 Olympic and Paralympic classes.

No one was expecting the Finn medal race – the last of the day – to be an anti-climax. And no one was disappointed. Only one man, Giles Scott (GBR) could take the gold medal from triple Olympic Champion, Ben Ainslie – who also happens to be the reigning World Match Racing Champion. There was always going to be fireworks and they started early, with the pair battling way behind the line as the others jostled to start. Ainslie came out in front and kept his foot on his younger rival’s throat all the way up the first leg, the pair still trailing the fleet, which was all that Ainslie really required with a 16 point overall lead. But then the unexpected happened… Scott blasted past Ainslie on the run.

The Olympic legend reversed the tables on the next windward leg to lead again at the final turning mark, only for Scott to do the same thing on the final run – despite some aggressive defending from Ainslie. But that one place was vital to Scott, who needed ninth to secure his silver medal from Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) by a single point. A tremendous physical display of no-limits pumping saw Scott safely home for silver, with Kljakovic Gaspic taking bronze from medal race winner, and reigning World Champion, Ed Wright (GBR).

The final medal race had been everything that spectators had hoped for, and as the athletes sailed home and the medal tallies were counted, any locals that had ever doubted Skandia Team GBR’s strength on their home turf could relax. The nine medal total at the end of this regatta brings home the strength in depth of the performance, particularly when you note that those nine medals didn’t include anything from three classes in which the team medalled in 2008 in Beijing – the Star, RS:X Women and 470 Men.

Quotes of the Day

Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Finn Winner

We’ve got huge quality in the Finn fleet here, especially in the British team with Giles (Scott) and Ed Wright in particular sailing very well. It’s been a really tough week physically with strong winds so I’m really pleased to have come out on top. It was hard work, I won’t hide from that fact. It was one of the toughest events I think I’ve ever done physically.

Sometimes that’s the way it goes (re. the match race in the final). Giles was the only one who could beat me and in terms of our Pre-Olympic selection trials. I sealed the regatta win and it worked out OK. It’s always quite tense with those match races, it’s never easy and Giles sailed very well and put up a good fight. It’s a tough situation that we only have one spot per class.

Finn After Medal Race
1. GBR 3- AINSLIE Ben (42pts)
2. GBR 41- SCOTT Giles (56pts)
3. CRO 524- KLJAKOVIC GASPIC Ivan (57pts)