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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Ainslie keeps gold on appeal
Ben Ainslie
Ainslie has won gold - for the moment at least
Britain's Ben Ainslie pipped Robert Scheidt for gold in an incredible final race in the Laser class - and then survived an appeal against the result.

The pair collided in the course of the race, but the judges ruled in Ainslie's favour after studying video evidence.

"It's just amazing, it's like a dream come true," Ainslie said.

Ainslie had surrendered the gold medal position in the penultimate race of the regatta when Scheidt finished in second place to Ainslie's fifth.

Scheidt had been four points behind Ainslie before race 10, but the world champion Brazilian threatened to repeat the positions in Atlanta when he opened up a nine-point advantage over his opponent.

It's always 50-50 when you go into a protest room
  Ben Ainslie
Under sailing rules, competitors discard their worst two finishes in the 11 races, and the Brazilian dropped a 21st place from his points tally.

To add to the drama the final race was delayed due to a lack of wind, but when it got underway Ainslie put his cat and mouse tactics in to play.

Instead of going out to win, Ainslie attempted to force Scheidt to the back of the fleet so that the Brazilian would have to once more retain a low-placed finish.

Private battle

And as Ainslie and Scheidt fought their private battle, the rest of the fleet sailed away and left them behind.

Ainslie held his opponent at bay for so long that when the Brazilian finally got past him the gap on the rest of the fleet was too large for him to gain enough places.

As long as Scheidt finished outside the top 20 places Ainslie would move back into the gold medal position.

I'd rather see the Olympic final be more sportsmanlike
  Robert Scheidt
Scheidt fought his way back up the field but could only finish in 22nd place.

Ainslie said: "It was an amazing race, very tough.

"My only option was to try to do what I did. I am ecstatic at the way it went. I had nothing to lose."

On the incident in which the boats clashed Ainslie said: "I think he was in the wrong and I was in the right.

"He is not allowed to gybe in that situation.

"My series was much more conservative than his which gave him the opportunity.

"It's always 50-50 when you go into a protest room."

Scheidt countered: "I think it was a bit too much... I'd rather see the Olympic final be more sportsmanlike.

"He took advantage of some situations to get ahead of me."

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