Australia wins third sailing gold
WEYMOUTH, England -- For the third time in the London Olympic sailing regatta, an Aussie crew ended up taking a celebratory swim.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia held off their British rivals to win the gold medal in the men's 470 class Friday, guaranteeing that the team from Down Under will finish with more sailing golds than the host country.
Shortly after crossing the line, Belcher and Page capsized their boat in celebration on a spectacular sunny day on Weymouth Bay.
Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell sailed well early in the medals race before being overhauled by the Aussies on the first downwind leg. Patience and Bithell took the silver, and Argentina's Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente won the bronze.
Soon there were three boats upside down in the water. Patience and Bithell, and Calabrese and de la Fuente also capsized their boats. The six sailors congratulated each other together.
Australia has three sailing golds to Britain's one. The Australians have a chance at a fourth gold, in women's match racing.
In the women's 470, New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won gold, the Kiwis' second sailing medal of the London Games.
Aleh and Powrie came into the medals race tied on points with the British crew of Hannah Mills and Saski Clark. The Kiwis won the race while the British finished ninth and took the silver.
It's the first gold medal for the Kiwis in a boat with a rudder since 1984, when Russell Coutts topped the Finn fleet and Rex Sellers and Christopher Timms won the Tornado class. Coutts went on to become the most dominant skipper in America's Cup history.
The Kiwis have been strong in windsurfing in recent Olympics, but until these games, they hadn't won any medals in boats with rudders since 1992.
On Wednesday, the Kiwi 49er skiff crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke took silver.
Australia finished second in the medals race and the British crew was fourth. The British needed to finish ahead of the Aussies, with a boat between, to win the gold.
The Aussie Page was on the winning men's 470 crew in Beijing, sailing with Nathan Wilmot.
When they came ashore, Belcher and Page were hoisted onto teammates' shoulders and each was given an Australian flag.
Australia's other gold medalists in this regatta were Tom Slingsby in the Laser class and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er skiff.
The medals race was abandoned Thursday because of light wind.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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