On choppy water under sunny skies, the last day of competition in the Olympic one-person dinghy (men’s Laser, women’s Laser Radial) events provided plenty of drama.
In the men’s event, Australia’s Matt Wearn had already mathematically clinched gold as long as he finished the last race without incident. He did far better than that, taking second in the medal race, his fourth runner-up finish in the 11-race series along with two wins.
The first three finishers on Sunday didn’t affect the medals. France’s Jean Baptiste Bernaz crossed the line first but was too far back in the standings to contend. Next was Wearn. Third-place finisher Philipp Buhl of Germany needed a series of unlikely results to reach the podium.
But as the boats streamed across the line in rapid succession, Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic sailed across in fourth. Having already done the math in his head and knowing that he had clinched his second straight silver medal, Stipanovic unleashed several yells and pounded his fist on the water.
Stipanovic came into the race in third place, with 74 points in a sport in which the lowest score wins. With points doubled in the medal race, his fourth-place finish gave him eight more for a total of 82.
If Hermann Tomasgaard, who had 71 points before the medal race, had crossed the line next, the Norwegian would have taken silver. He did not. South Korea’s Ha Jee-Min was fifth, followed by Cypriot sailor Pavlos Kontides, who came into the race with medal hopes of his own but needed to finish ahead of Stipanovic and well ahead of Tomasgaard, who grinned as he crossed in seventh but still held on for bronze.
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