Rio: Brazil sails to gold at home in women’s 49erFX

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze were Brazil’s last hope for a medal in sailing, and on Thursday, the pair brought home the gold for the host nation in the 49erFX. At the Marina da Glória, the duo won the medal race ahead of New Zealand and Italy. Heading into Thursday’s medal race, three teams–Brazil, Spain, Denmark–were even at the top of the standings, with New Zealand only a point behind.

Grael and Kunze had a brilliant race for gold, roaring back from third place to edge out New Zealand in a photo finish.

Spectators carry the boat of Brazil's Martine Grael and Brazil's Kahena Kunze out of the water after they won the 49er FX Women medal race at Marina da Gloria during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 18, 2016. / AFP / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Spectators carry the boat of Brazil’s Martine Grael and Brazil’s Kahena Kunze out of the water after they won the 49er FX Women medal race at Marina da Gloria during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 18, 2016. / AFP / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

After the medal race, the final podium teams were Brazil with 48 points for gold, New Zealand’s Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech with 51 points winning silver, and Denmark’s Katja Salskov-Iversen and Jena Mai Hansen capturing bronze with 54 points.

American pair Helena Scutt and Paris Henken finished tenth overall in the event, though they did win Day 5’s race in the 49erFX. They finished in ninth place in Thursday’s medal race, for 18 points.

[More from Excelle Sports: ‘Uncharted Waters’ documentary on U.S. Sailing Team Sperry’s road to Rio]

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth capsized during the medal event and finished in last place on the day, but one spot ahead of the Americans overall at eighth.

The women’s 49erFX event was new for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the men have raced the 49er since the 2000 Sydney Games.

Also on Thursday, in the women’s 470, Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills raced to gold for Great Britain. New Zealand also earned silver in this event, with Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie ten points behind Team GBR. Camille Lecointre and Hélène Defrance won bronze for France.

On Tuesday, Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands won gold in the women’s laser radial, followed by Annalise Murphy of Ireland for silver and Anne-Marie Rindom taking bronze for Denmark.

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