Victor Kovalenko: ‘It’s a big pain’

Australia’s Olympic sailing team will return home humbled, empty handed of medals but with a resolve to dig in and repair the damaged reputation at Beijing 2008.

Head coach Victor Kovalenko said, after competition ended today: ‘Our expectations for these games from the sailing community were top highest. And all of these expectations were based not only on our wishes, but on the talents and skills of our sailors and our coaches. They have been many times world champions in many classes, European champions.

‘Now, it’s not disappointment in our hearts; it’s big pain.’

‘We had a very strong team here. Four of them were aiming for gold, four more were aiming for medals.

‘The group aiming for gold was not worrying about silver or bronze. They were risking and racing on the edge. And the group fighting for medals would say keep your fourths, fifths and sixths.

‘I have asked all of them, what would you change if you came back or do differently, one year or one month in time. All said they would do the same.

‘They were all of them very confident in the program that they had done and two months before the Games they were best in the world. This time, the sailing gods were not with us. This is not our time

‘But there will be in the future, we are never in the past. We have settled our plan two years ago, not just for 2004 looking but also for 2008.

'Our youth program has been the best in the world for two years and we have had a lot of talent coming into the squad who have proven themselves already with their results with their world titles and top medals in European championships.

‘And this is big potential for us for Beijing. We are very determined now, because our failure will bring a new experience, new motivation and new drive to win in Beijing.’

Great Britain was top nation in the Olympic sailing with two gold medals, silver and two bronze. Second was Spain with one gold medal and two silver medals.

Equal third were: Brazil (two gold), Austria (one gold, two silver), Greece (one gold, one silver), USA (one gold, one silver), France (one gold, one silver), Ukraine (two silver), Denmark (two bronze).

Australia’s final overall placings were:-
470 men: Nathan Wilmot/Malcolm Page, 12th
470 women: Jenny Armstrong/Belinda Stowell, 14th.
Laser: Michael Blackburn, 9th.
Europe: Sarah Blanck, 4th.
Finn: Anthony Nossiter, 6th.
Yngling women: Nicky Bethwaite, Karyn Gojnich, Kristen Kosmala, 13th.
Mistral women: Jessica Crisp, 6th.
Mistral men: Lars Kleppich, 8th.
49er: Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd, 7th.
Tornado: Darren Bundock/John Forbes, 6th.
Star: Colin Beashel/David Giles, 15th.