Russell Coutts wins Finn Class Sailing Gold, Los Angeles 1984

Russell Coutts was brilliant throughout the Los Angeles Olympics, recording finishes of 1-7-2-2-21-3-5. Going into the final race almost nothing separated the New Zealander from American John Bertrand and Canadian Terry Neilson. Coutts’ fifth in the final race, just ahead of Neilson, earned him enough points to claim the gold medal. There was more drama on the final day when his gear, weighed after the race, was found to be too heavy. It required a long, nervous weight while it dried – and consequently got lighter – before he was declared the gold medallist. Coutts therefore became the first New Zealand yachtie to win a single-handed class as the Olympic Games.

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