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Skipper overboard proves costly
By Miles Godfrey
03:57 AEST Sun Aug 12 2012

Australia's women's match racing crew had to settle for a silver medal after skipper Olivia Price fell overboard in a pivotal moment during their thrilling Olympic final against Spain.

The 20-year-old admitted she wasn't holding on tightly when a big wave hit her boat during race three of the best-of-five race final - when the closely-matched teams had one win each - and washed her out the back into the sea.

"It was quite a shock to the system," Price said.

"We rolled the Spanish to windward and the sea state was quite large and one of the waves just picked the boat up.

"... I wasn't holding on quite enough and I just got swept straight out the back."

It proved to be the decisive moment in the 3-2 loss in Weymouth Bay.

Price's crewmates Lucinda Whitty, 22, and Nina Curtis, 24 had to circle around and haul her back aboard.

The Spanish won the race easily and grabbed the series momentum.

Although the Australians did level the final four-all, they lost the fifth race after being handed a penalty turn and had to settle for the silver medal.

The penalty, for a port-starboard right of way infringement, came as the Australians led the fifth race.

The manner of the defeat was harsh for Price and her crew after they had sailed brilliantly to be undefeated through the round robin stages.

"We came here for one goal and that was gold," Price said.

"Unfortunately we didn't reach it but we're one step under, so we're really happy."

The Spanish took the gold medal and Finland won the bronze after defeating Russia earlier in the day.

Spanish crewman Angela Menendez Pumariega told reporters: "To win the gold medal is a dream.

"We thought it would be over five races because Australia are a very strong team, but we knew we would win the gold medal."

Australian sailing team boss Peter Conde admitted Price was "a little bit gutted" after her mistake.

"They were pushing it so hard in pretty big seas, that's sometimes a risk that you take," he added.

It was the last race of the Olympic regatta.

The Australian team won three golds and one silver to easily be the nation's most successful sport at the London Games.

They beat former No.1 team Britain in their home waters to top the Olympic regatta medal table for the first time.

Spain's match racing gold meant Great Britain slipped to third overall in Weymouth.

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