Olympic gold medal winner returns to celebrate!

Anna thanked friends in the area for their support.
Anna thanked friends in the area for their support.

Anna Tunnicliffe returned to the North Cape Yacht Club on August 27 to celebrate her gold medal win! See the attached video.

Associated Press - August 19, 2008 6:03 AM ET

BEIJING (AP) - Anna Tunnicliffe of Florida (formerly of Perrysburg and a 2001 Perrysburg High School graduate) has won the gold medal in the laser radial class in sailing competition. She was in ninth place at the midway mark but finished strong to win on total points after 10 races.

A note from Anna:

Gold Medal after a Slow Start

Qingdao, China

August 19, 2008

I won the Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medal today! As I stood on the podium this afternoon for the medal presentation, I had this flashback. I was standing in the same position as I had a year ago when I won the pre-Olympic regatta in Qingdao. But this time it was real!

This is something I've wanted so long and now all the emotions are crowding in on me. Everything has been a whirlwind since I finished racing nearly four hours ago. As I sit down to write this, it's feels like the first time I've stopped to draw a breath, but the high is still continuing. I've been told to expect a call from the Wall Street Journal! And I've been reminded by reporters that I'm the first American sailor to win Gold in these games..

My race today wasn't easy and I'm sure I caused some heart-stopping moments for all the American supporters who crowded the breakwater along the right hand side of the course. Overall, it was a pretty stressful race. The breeze was light and shifty, from the northwest. I got out there early to watch the Men's Laser Medal Race and see what I could learn.

For our race, the fleet crowded the weather end of the line and I heard at least one boat called over early as we started. I was right next to her and I wasn't going to take any chances so I went back too, along with a couple of other boats. After that I had a tough first beat and when I rounded the weather mark there were only two boats behind me. Then I lost another boat on the run which put me in ninth place. At this point, the third-placed boat was winning the Gold and all I could expect was the Bronze Medal.

I knew I had to pull something out to get back on top. Most of the fleet had gone right, in towards the seawall, but I got into this line of breeze and headed out to the left, along with the two sailors ahead of me who ultimately won the Silver and the Bronze. I kept going further out until we sailed into this massive left shift. I was overstood and actually had to reach into the mark. As I got closer to the mark I could see with certainty with every yard I was gaining and picking off my competition.

The shift had turned the run into a reach and after I rounded in third place I knew I had the Gold in my grasp, counting the overall points I had going into this race. Someone asked me later how I felt going down the last leg and I can tell you the finish line couldn't arrive soon enough. As I got the gun I was so happy and so proud to win for my country. It was overwhelming.

For a great slide show of my Olympics, mostly the Medal Race, go to http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/USA/Anna+Tunnicliffe/222031 and then click on Photo Gallery. There are 54 shots in the archive, although some are duplicated. For leg-by-leg race updates and overall results, go to http://www.sailing.org/olympics/resultscentre.php and click on Laser Radial Women in the left-hand column.

Until the games are over you'll notice some changes in the content of my reports and where they are located on my website. To comply with International Olympic Committee regulations designed to protect its sponsors' interests, my reports are appearing on my special Qingdao Olympic Blog. The URL for the page is http://www.annatunnicliffe.com/content/blogcategory/29/113/. There is also a link from the home page of my website. The blog page includes hotlinks to official results and competition photos.

Sail hard,

Anna's biography from Wikipedia:

Anna Tunnicliffe was born on October 17, 1982 in Doncaster, England. When Anna was a child her parents owned a yacht and this is where she learned to like sailing. She and her family moved to the United States at the age of 12 and lived in Perrysburg, Ohio. There she attended Perrysburg High School and joined the North Cape Yacht Club where she raced Optimists and other small boats for the next 5 years. Then in 1999 she began sailing the Laser Radial. Her first event in this boat was at the Leiter Cup in Detroit, Michigan. Despite her small build she advanced to the Smythe Finals for her area, where she was the only woman sailing. She participated in cross country, swimming, and track at the varsity level. In her senior year she won district track championships in the 800 meter and set a new high school record of 2 minutes 17.56 seconds. After a hard decision between sailing and track, she decided to go to the Old Dominion University to study and sail. As a student at ODU she contributed greatly to the sailing community.

More news from Beijing:

BEIJING (AP) - The U.S. women's beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor (TRAY'-nur) and Kerri Walsh is going to play for the gold. The duo defeated a team from Brazil today 21-12 and 21-14.

BEIJING (AP) - The U.S. has won a gold in wrestling. Colorado's Henry Cejudo defeated Japan's Tomohiro Matsunago in the 55 kilogram weight class.

BEIJING (AP) - The U.S. women's basketball team is back in action today. In their final preliminary game the Americans are facing the team from South Korea.

BEIJING (AP) - Manager Davey Johnson's U.S. baseball team has a preliminary game later today. The Americans are facing the club from Chinese Taipei. The U.S. has a record of 3-2.

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