The Olympic Story part 4: Britannia ruleth the waves

Ben Ainslie of GBR, Finn Class World Champion

 In part 1 of this series we analyzed why Great Britain (GBR) fell short of reaching a better spot than 6th in the GSN Beijing Olympics ranking.

In part 2  we probed deeper into the Beijing results, focusing on GBR’s performance in Athletics, where we also picked the likeliest golds for London 2012.

Part 3 featured GBR performance in Swimming and we now turn to more water sports: Rowing and Sailing.
Another Olympic overall victory for GBR in Beijing: Sailing. British excellence in this sport is testified by 4 gold medals, one silver and one bronze plus 3 more top eight placements. An impressive performance, which left Australia (2 golds) and France (only one silver but a good series of placements) trailing in the wake of GBR’s helmsmen, and women.
British gold medals came in the Yngling class (Women) and for the Men in the Star, Finn and Laser classics. In other words, all the classic technical classes (Star and Finn) and the most spectacular one (Laser), leaving only the 470 dinghy (a good mixture of tactics and athleticism) to the opposition. But not without a fight, as the silver in the Men 470 shows.
The Beijing 2008 success was repeated down-under in Perth, at the 2011 ISAF Sailing Worlds.
Team GBR swept the waters with twice as many points as runner-up and host Australia. Only one gold (Finn class) to the Aussies’ 3 but three silvers and eight more placements in the top eight displayed the strength in depth that’s GBR’s hallmark in the sport.
Yet more Olympic glory as GBR won the Rowing competition. Australia (2nd) and the USA (3rd) put up a good fight but had to bow before 2 golds, 2 silvers, 2 bronze and more top 8 placements by Team GBR. Both golds and three other medals came from the Men (Lightweight Double Sculls and Four) but the Ladies too grabbed medals, one silver and one bronze.
The 2011 Rowing World Championships saw a repeat performance by GBR. A convincing victory over Australia, Germany and New Zealand thanks to 17 counts, well ahead of every other nation apart from Germany. But the Germans could not match the wealth of medals  (5 golds and 12 medals from 17 counts) reaped by GBR, who looks well set for another star performance at London 2012.