SAILING Lovell, Ogletree take second in Tornado
XATHENS, Greece -- The U.S. sailing program averted its worst Olympic showing in 20 years Saturday when John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree finished second in the Tornado class.
The team's two-medal total this year ties the 1996 Atlanta Games for futility.
Lovell and Ogletree were unable to catch Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, who outran the entire 17-boat fleet on the final day of sailing.
The defending Olympic champions were so far ahead they celebrated with a jump into the Saronic Gulf while most of their competitors were still sailing the final leg.
In the only other race, American Star sailors Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter struggled all day, and, instead of fighting for a bronze medal, they found themselves last in the fleet of 16 boats. They finished seventh overall.
"Everything we tried didn't work," said Cayard. "Right now, it's hard not to focus on the opportunities that were there throughout this regatta and the unfortunate fact that we didn't take advantage of them."
Cayard, 45, was an alternate at the 1984 Olympics and had spent the past 18 months training to make this team.
Lovell and Ogletree have been sailing together for more than a decade. They finished seventh in the 2000 Olympics and eighth in 1996.
Ogletree, who has the same birthday as his sailing partner, said they were disappointed as they crossed the finish line that they had been unable to win the gold medal.
"As soon as the race was over, we had our heads down a little bit, but as we got to shore and started talking to friends and family, it's all starting to feel pretty good," he said. "It's a dream come true."
This year, 61 nations sent a total of 400 sailors to the Olympics. Seven countries, including the United States, had entries in all 11 matches. Twenty countries received medals.
"I think it's great that it isn't controlled by one country," said Paul Henderson, president of the international sailing federation, known as the ISAF. "We have different classes, so that the wealthy countries dominate some classes and the emerging countries dominate others."
The Baltimore Sun