London Olympics 2012 - Surprise ending for Women's match racers

Anna Tunnicliffe, Debbie Capozzi and Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (USA) competing in the Women’s Match Racing (Elliott 6M) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
London Olympics 2012. In a surprise ending to the Women’s Match Racing competition, Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi were eliminated from competition by Finland in the quarter-final round.

As one of four quarterfinal match-ups, USA lost the first two races on Aug. 7, and then came back strong today to win Race 3. In the 'first to win three points' series, the pressure was on USA to win the next match; however, Finland went on to win the fourth race, eliminating the U.S. boat from medal contention.

Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan finished the 10-race series in the Women’s 470 in ninth place overall and advanced to the medal race on Aug. 10.

Women’s 470 racing was plagued with very light wind and shifty conditions. Race 9 started in a similar fashion as racing on Tuesday, with Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y. ) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) fighting for a clear lane. They finished in 17th, but by Race 10 they found the lane they wanted and were able to advance their boat through the pack to finish in ninth.

'In the second I feel like we were in much better control and it was another good comeback for us,' said Clark after racing. 'We had a better job feeling the pressure.'

Although the team has been together for only 18 months, they explained that the have continued to learn and excel despite any poor finishes.

'One thing to note is that any mistake we made we were able to recover from them, and part of our program has been focusing on the positive and what we have learned,' said Lihan. 'We are absolutely at the level where we need to be in terms of my crew ability. We are at the size we need and the strength we need and the ability.'

They advanced to the Medal Race, which is scheduled on Aug. 10. 'We’re looking to keep fighting and enjoy every moment on the water racing in the Olympics,' said Clark. 'We are going to go out and look to win that medal race.'


In Women’s Match Racing, the Quarter Final rounds continued with USA racing against Finland. After Aug. 7, the standings in the 'best to three wins' series found Finland up two wins over USA. Today’s racing would have to go three straight races in USA’s favor.

Despite winning the third race, Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer, Debbie Capozzi did not win the fourth, which put an end in their quest for a medal.

'By the time our second race started, it shifted left to a pretty steady course,' said Vandemoer. 'So it was very match-racing oriented. With flat water you’re not going to get very far apart. Basically, we were dead even going upwind. It was typical match racing. We closed up the distance and got really close at the leeward mark; same thing upwind. If we had another 100 yards maybe it would have been different result. We are very happy for them.'

Tunnicliffe explained that the Finnish team has been their training partner for the past few years, and even though they are close friends they did not want to lose. 'It works both ways,' she said. 'They know us and we know them. Unfortunately we met in the quarters and not the finals.

'Unfortunately it didn’t work out today; we gave it our all and it didn’t work out,' said Tunnicliffe after racing. 'It was close racing all around. They led us from the start onwards, and our goal was to keep it close and attack on the last downwind leg. They made it really difficult. As hard as we tried we couldn’t make it happen. Obviously we train together and we knew it would be hard.'

The team, known for its work ethic and dedication, offered perspective soon after losing the match. 'We sailed this regatta the best we could and it just wasn’t meant to be,' said Capozzi. 'We sailed as hard as we could and fought every race. We don’t have any regrets; it just wasn’t our day today.'

They will now compete in the match for fifth place overall.

Thursday is a reserve day for Women’s 470 in advance of the Medal Race on Aug. 10.

Results in concluded events:

12th, Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy), Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 10-15-13-17-2-8-11-8-12-19 (completed Aug 3)
29th, Laser, Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) 35-42-30-28-16-32-19-8-33-(44)
20th, Women’s RS:X Windsurfing, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 22-18-18-18-20-22-23-27[OCS]-16-16 (completed Aug. 5)
22nd, RS:X Windsurfing, Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) 7-10-11-25-BFD-28-24-33-11-30 (completed Aug. 5)
7th, Star (Men’s Keelboat), Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) 5-14-5-3-8-9-5-10-3-11-6
8th, Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 8-5-12-17-4-9-[21]-20-9-8-6 (12 points)
15th, 49er, Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla./N. Pomfret, Vt.) 6-10-16-1-7-13-[20]-18-2-17-5-20-17-8-17
14th, Men’s 470, Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) 17-22-10-3-23-24-6-18-7-4

Women’s Match Racing, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) – Eliminated in quarter-final round by Finland, 1 win-3 losses (first to 3 wins)

Overall standings to date:

9th, Women’s 470, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 7-3-5-7-19-20-3-8-17-9
**BFD is black flag penalty

Full results here

NBCOlympics.com Broadcasting sailing live every day of competition. Archived video here

Us Sailing website