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Price extends Games sailing win streak
By Miles Godfrey
03:23 AEST Fri Aug 3 2012

Birthday girl Olivia Price won her eighth straight race at the sailing regatta to rubber-stamp her new-found status as one of Australia's brightest Olympic gold medal hopes.

Price and her crewmates Lucinda Whitty and Nina Curtis have beaten all-comers in the women's match racing competition at Weymouth.

Their scalps include the top four crews in the world and victory against Spain and Denmark on Thursday ensures they enter next week's quarter-finals as top seeds.

The wins came as Price celebrated her 20th birthday - albeit with just a cupcake and a candle.

"To be honest I hadn't thought that it was my birthday, I'd been trying to block it out but now that it's finished it was a good day," Price told reporters.

But Australia's other Olympic sailors endured a frustrating time on Thursday.

Beijing gold medallist Malcolm Page was angry after a disappointing, error-strewn start to his campaign.

The 40-year-old 470 dinghy competitor is bidding to become the first Australian sailor to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

But a series of mistakes ruined any chance he and crewmate Mat Belcher had of starting on a high.

"There was a few little schoolboy errors from day one in both races," Page said.

"We've got high expectations and we haven't made silly errors like that for some time."

The pair's mistakes included hitting a buoy marker in their first race - forcing them to perform a penalty turn.

They had a false start in the second race and then nearly hit the Italian crew - a foul for which they performed another penalty turn.

They finished third and ninth, leaving them fifth overall and nine points behind early leaders Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell of Great Britain.

Page said he was angry with the performance.

"Of course, we have high standards," he added.

"We haven't pulled the knife out of our own veins or each other yet, so it's all good.

"... Was I a little nervous? Of course I was, this is a big event."

A silly error also dented Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen's gold medal hopes.

The 49er skiff world champions clipped another boat's tiller and were forced to perform a penalty turn.

It sent them to the back of the 20-boat fleet and they eventually clawed their way back to finish 10th.

Outteridge and Jensen finished the day's second race sixth and admit they're now worried about the challenge from British pair Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, who won both races and are now 11 points behind the Australian leaders.

Finn sailor Brendan Casey's hopes of competing in Sunday's medal race now appear slim after he finished 19th and ninth on Thursday.

The Laser and Laser radial classes had a lay day.

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