OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Smith keeps hopes afloat

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The Independent Online
LAWRIE SMITH scraped into the semi-finals of the Soling match race last night to keep Britain's only hope of a sailing medal on life support.

Kevin Mahaney and his all- star US crew went through with a score of 4-1 in the round robin watched by an enthusiastic crowd on the outer wall of the marina and hundreds more on a huge public television screen.

As most of the public were Spaniards, they were more interested in seeing replay after replay of the medals, four gold, and one silver, their countrymen have racked up in the most powerful display ever of modern Olympic yachting.

Unfortunately their prince charming of a Soling representative, in the form of King Juan Carlos's son Prince Felipe in Fernando Leon's crew, was nowhere near a match for the opposition in this first ever appearance of match racing to decide Olympic sailing medals.

Also out was Sweden's Magnus Holmberg, a rival with Smith for the fourth place with a 2-3 record but eliminated because he lost to Smith in their match. The other two in today's semi-finals and finals, which will all be decided by a best-of- three, are the defending Soling gold medallist, Germany's Jochen Schumann, and Denmark's Jesper Bank, the bronze medallist in South Korea.

Because he won the round robin, Mahaney had the privilege of choosing his semi-final opponent. He was expected to select Smith, even though Smith, and crew of Rob Cruickshank and Ossie Stewart, have previously beaten him.