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Defending Champions Off to a Slow Start

September 18, 2000|Reuters

German's Jochen Schuemann and Hong Kong's Lee Lai-Shan struggled too defend their Olympic titles as fickle winds marred the first day of competition at Sydney Harbor.

Light and shifting winds delayed the start of some races up to three hours.

Schuemann, seeking to become only the second Olympic sailor to win four gold medals, only managed 14th place in the first race of the three-handed Soling keelboat class. The second scheduled race was postponed because of the poor wind.

The Netherlands' Roy Heiner won by 53 seconds over Russia's Georgy Shayduko.

Lee's campaign also started badly when she collided with U.S. sailboarder Lanee Butler of Aliso Viejo, Calif., in the first women's Mistral race and went on to finish sixth. She is placed seventh overall after finishing 10th in the second race. Butler was in fourth place after finishing second and fourth in the first two races, but she was disqualified from the first race after a protest by Lee.

The men's and women's Mistrals, like most of the other nine classes, are decided over 11 races. Each sailor's worst two results--including disqualifications--are discarded.

The U.S. Tornado crew of John Lovell of New Orleans and Charlie Ogletree of Newport Beach finished fifth in the first of two races to improve to fifth overall.

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