From the US Sailing Press Release (Debbie Anderson):
Qingdao, China (August 19, 2008) – Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) finished in second place in today’s Laser Radial medal race to claim gold at her first Olympic Games. Having never won a race in the eight-day series, Tunnicliffe sailed with consistency to win by the tightest of margins.
Tunnicliffe entered the 10-boat, light air medal race defending gold, but after turning back at the start for an individual recall she had potentially taken herself out of the running. She said she wasn’t positive whether she was over early or not, but she wanted to be safe. Her setback left her fighting to keep silver around the first lap, and by the bottom mark she had lost one boat and rounded in second to last. On that last upwind leg, she said, “I saw a puff on the left and said, ‘Well, here it goes.’ It was a risk, but it was a risk worth taking.”
Tunnicliffe shot up to third place at the next mark, putting her in gold and sending the crowd on land into frenzied cheers. She finished the race in second, her fans went ballistic and she had clinched the Olympic gold medal.
The local connection is that Anna is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk where she helped ODU win four national titles, was first team All American and, as a senior, was named Female College Sailor of the Year. Little known is that Anna, and her husband and training partner Brad Funk, also a ODU alum, were knocking around in Bladeriders in South Florida this past winter. Who knows? Maybe our gold medal winner will transition from the Laser Radial to an International Moth.