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21 Jul 1980
Moscow 1980

Mankin shines as Brazilians top medal table

Although Brazil surprisingly topped the medals table in the sailing regatta at the 1980 Olympic Games, it was the sole Russian gold medallists who stole the limelight.

With Moscow landlocked, the regatta was hosted off Tallinn in Estonia at Pirita where the waters offered blustery and often unpredictable conditions.

Norway and the United States had boycotted the Games while Great Britain, which made up the third top three country of all-time sailing medallists, was present, but the national sailing federation had opted not to compete.

Brazilian sailors had a terrific regatta, with 20-year-olds Marcos Soares and Eduardo Penido, who earned their sea legs as surfers on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, striking gold in the 470 class with a commanding series of performances.

Team-mates Lars Sigurd Bjorkstrom and skipper Alexandre Welter prevailed after winning three of the seven races in the Tornado category. They finished a disappointing fifth in the final race, but it was enough to hold off the charging Danish crew.

However, it was the 41-year-old Ukrainian-born Valentin Mankin who sailed into the record books that summer. He had already won Finn and Tempest gold medals at Mexico City in 1968 and Munich in 1972 respectively, narrowly missing out on a hat-trick when he won the Tempest silver in 1976.

For his home Games, he was entered in the Star class with helmsman Aleksandr Muzychenko. They started the event in consummate style with three wins and a second place in the opening five races.

They had already done enough to secure the gold by the time of the final race. They finished a distant seventh, and this being their lowest score, it was eradicated from their total.

It was still enough to hold off a late charge from the Austrians, with Italy rounding off the medal podium.

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