<
>

Americans still in hunt in Tornado class

ATHENS, Greece -- Brazil's Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira
clinched the Star class gold medal Thursday with one race left,
while Americans John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree closed in on at
least a silver in the Tornado class.

Lovell and Ogletree finished well in two races aboard their
catamaran, putting them within three points of defending Olympic
champions Austria going into Saturday's final race.

The silver and bronze medals in the Star class also will be
decided Saturday. American skipper Paul Cayard, in his first
Olympics at 45, and crew Phil Trinter, are ranked fourth overall
with 56 points, nine points shy of the silver.

Grael, 44, has won five medals in six Olympics, dating to his
silver in the Soling class in 1984. Grael also won the Star gold in
1996, and has two bronzes.

Grael and Ferreira sailed a consistent regatta against a fleet
loaded with some of the world's best sailors. In 10 races, they
were out of the top seven only once, finishing 11th in the first of
Thursday's two races for the 17-boat fleet. In the second race,
they finished fourth to win the gold.

Grael was the tactician for Prada Challenge in the 2003
America's Cup, helping the Italian-based crew eliminate Cayard's
AmericaOne in the challenger finals. Luna Rossa was then swept in
five races by Team New Zealand.

On the 49er course, Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez of Spain
lived up to their billing as favorites by winning the gold medal.

They finished seventh in the deciding 16th race to win the gold
by five points over Rodion Luka and George Leonchuk of Ukraine, who
took silver. Martinez and Fernandez won the world championships
earlier this year.

Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks got the bronze, the fifth medal
for Britain at this regatta. Hiscocks won the silver medal at
Sydney in 2000 with skipper Ian Barker.

Americans Tim Wadlow of Boston and Pete Spaulding of Miami,
knocked out of medal contention on Tuesday, finished fifth in their
first Olympics.