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by Ian Grant. on 30 Sep 2000
Rachel Nahum
Olympic Star class history from Atlanta was repeated on Sydney Harbour today when Brazil skipper Torben Grael lost the Gold Medal with a critical split second starting error.

Grael won Gold in Atlanta 4 years ago when Australia's Colin Beashel made a similar error, on each occasion both skippers were the Gold Medal leaders into the final race.

Naturally the heat of the action has an influence but it is difficult to understand why these split second errors occur when there is so much to lose.

Unfortunately for Grael and his crew mate Marcelo Ferreira they now understand how the Australians Colin Beashel and David Giles felt four years ago.

Skipper Grael and the balance of the 16 nation fleet were unaware of the start breach as they sailed up the first windward beat testing each others technique and speed in what was an interesting duel for the major medals.

As expected the Canadian duo of Ross Macdonald and Kai Bjorn expressed an advantage form their collective crew weight of 199kilograms to edge clear of the fleet.

They were unmatched for all angle sailing speed over the windward leeward course to eventually win by over a minute from the World champions Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl (USA) and the British crew of Ian Walker and Mark Covell.

Remarkably with the Brazil crew dismissed from contention the Gold Medal was officially decided by the 31 second margin which the American team beat the English.

Had the placing's been reversed both crews would have finished with identical points with Britain winning on countback with their better top three placing's over the 11 energy absorbing races.

RESULTS FINAL POINTS (Official) GOLD Mark Reynolds/Magnus Liljedahl (USA) 34pts. SILVER Ian Walker/Mark Covell (GBR) 35pts.BRONZE Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira (BRA). BER 45.3pts 4, CAN 48pts 5, NED 50pts 6, AUS 51pts 7, ESP 55pts 8, NZL 57pts 9 ITA 79pts 10.

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