Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli became the first sailors to win the Nacra 17 gold at an Olympic Games after surviving a nail biting medal race on Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro today.
The duo began the final day of the mixed gender event, which was taking place for the first time at the Olympic Games, top of the standings on a total of 86 points.
Their hopes of gold were put under threat after they received a penalty early on in the double point medal race which put them to the back of the field, with their Australian and Austrian rivals attempting to close in.
Australia’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin ended as the runners-up in the race to move onto a tally of 78 points, with Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank of Austria joining them on the total by finishing third.
After recovering from their penalty, Lange and Saroli came through the field to claim a sixth place finish, ending seven seconds ahead of the Italian crew.
It proved a decisive gap, as the sixth place moved them onto 77 points and allowed the Argentine pair to celebrate the gold.
Waterhouse and Darmanin earned silver, owing to the Australian duo having finished higher than the Austrian crew in the medal race.
"We didn't expect it, at the end it was a very tough race, it was unbelievable,” said six-time Olympian, Lange, who lost a lung to cancer last year.
“There are no words for expressing so much love from so many people.
“I'm so thankful to so many people that helped us, our team was outstanding.
"I was rooting for a gold medal since the 1980s, so I've spent a lot of time working for this.”
The Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeester lived up to her status as the world number one in the laser radial event as a seventh place in the medal race saw her seal gold with a tally of 61 points.
Annalise Murphy won Ireland’s first sailing medal since Moscow 1980 by ending on 67 points to win silver, while Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom won bronze on 71.
Croatia’s were left celebrating their first ever Olympic sailing medal, but Tonci Stipanovic will wonder what might have been, after he slipped from first to second position on the final day of competition.
The 30-year-old finished ninth of the 10 starters to end on 75 points, with Australia’s Tom Burton taking full advantage as a third place saw him leapfrog the Croatian by finishing with 73 points.
New Zealand’s Sam Meech claimed bronze with a tally of 85.
Giles Scott had already secured gold in the finn class before contesting the medal race today, ensuring Britain won the event for the fifth successive Games.
Scott, following on from Ben Ainslie’s success in the event, finished the competition with a total of 36 points.
Slovenia’s Vasilij Zbogar and Caleb Paine of the United States claimed the remaining podium places on 68 and 76 points respectively.