LONDON — Sailor Sarah Lihan ’10 and her partner Amanda Clark struggled in the light, shifty winds on the course at the women’s 470 Olympic medal race on Friday. The American pair took 10th in the round, and finished ninth overall out of 20 dinghies at the London 2012 Games. Teams from New Zealand, Great Britain and the Netherlands won gold, silver and bronze.
Team GO SAIL, as Lihan and Clark call themselves, advanced to the medal round in ninth place after the 10-race qualifying series at the Weymouth and Portland Olympic venue. They entered the Games with a No. 3 ranking from the International Sailing Federation and took to to the water Friday with the goal of finishing fifth at the Olympics. The American 470 accumulated 20 points in the medal race and increased their net score to 98 points to finish ninth.
“Today when we saw the Brits with their double flares and the Kiwis [of New Zealand] upside down, and everyone celebrating, Amanda and I were pretty down to be honest,” Lihan said in a Friday U.S. Sailing press release. “ I’m really disappointed with how we performed. I really wish we were able to get up on that podium and watch our flag raise.”
After the men’s 470 races ended midday Friday, winds on the course dropped to as little as two to three knots during the women’s early afternoon race, according to BBC commentators. The calm conditions made it difficult for the sailors to improve their positioning during the race and all 10 boats maintained their place from the second marker through the finish.
Lihan and Clark rounded the first marker in 6th place before dropping back to 10th by the second marker. Race officials shortened the course to accommodate the weather conditions and Team GO SAIL fell further behind the lead dinghy from New Zealand.
“Our medal race was unfortunately not as breezy as the men had,” Lihan said. “We had a lot of pressure coming in and out. When the pressure was in, the left was the favored side of the course, and when it was out the right was favored. We didn’t line ourselves up with those trends and our scores reflect that.”
Lihan, an All American at Yale, is the last of eight Bulldogs to finish competing in the 2012 Games.