Home' East and Bays Courier : August 15th 2012 Contents Luxury apartments
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012
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Our golden girls
Golden lead: The Kiwi sailors on their way
to victory. The Great Britain boat is at left.
Team jolly: Olympic winners Jo Aleh, left, and Olivia ''Polly'' Powrie.
Photos: GETTY IMAGES
By ESTHER LAUAKI
Visit eastandbayscourier.co.nz to
see a video of Team Jolly.
KOHI Beach was where it all started
for New Zealand's newest Olympic
Jo Aleh and Olivia Polly'' Powrie,
also known as Team Jolly, have
sailed their way into the history
books by beating Great Britain on
Powrie attended St Cuthbert's Col-
lege in Epsom and both launched
their sailing careers at Kohimarama
Yacht Club in their early teens.
Aleh started sailing after being
inspired by Team New Zealand's
1995 America's Cup win. Powrie
comes from a sailing family.
Kohimarama Yacht Club's former
commodore Alan Bilkey says he could
tell there was something special
about the young sailors.
I've known them through their
Jo was from a non-sailing back-
ground and as soon as she got into a
boat she loved it.
She was so dedicated to it and was
top of her class and would beat the
We'd have fun prizes to motivate
the girls because the boys would nor-
mally do better.
But when Jo came along we star-
ted giving out fun prizes for the boys.
Polly became addicted to the sport
through her two older siblings. She
did very well too and you could see
these girls coming.
They were going to be great.''
Bilkey says Kohimarama Yacht
Club is delighted with their success.
The club is run by parents for the
kids only and so we all feel part of it
when the members are successful.''
Aleh, 26, and Powrie, 24, teamed
up to win the 420 world champion-
ships in 2007 but Aleh focused on the
single-handed Laser Radial for the
Beijing Olympics, where she finished
They reunited and moved into the
470 class after Beijing and earned top
four success at three world champion-
ships -- but their goal was always the
Team Jolly navigated their boat,
which they dubbed Muppet, around
four courses during the heats and
held their nerve throughout.
Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia
Clark were outwitted by the Kiwis in
the double-point medal race.
The Brits had less experience in
match racing scenarios and it
showed. They were off to a positive
start in 5 to 6 knots of wind but Aleh
immediately tacked away.
Mills decided not to follow, forcing
huge separation up the first beat.
New Zealand got best side of the
course and by the first mark the Brits
were trailing by 200 metres and
Officials then decided to shorten
the course due to lack of wind and
Britain had to settle for silver.
Team Jolly embraced as they
crossed the line.
Powrie's former sailing partner
Melinda Henshaw says that seeing
the podium finish was a proud day for
all 470 sailors.
We've been trying for years and
years to get up on that podium and
they've finally done it.
This is a great achievement for not
only the girls but for all 470 sailors.
When we sailed together she was
really gutsy and level-headed for a
sailor of her age,'' Henshaw says.
Quite often age and Olympic
experience can help you do well in
this sport because 470 is a really
technical class and requires a certain
amount of apprenticeship hours.''
The victory was the fourth of five
Olympic golds for New Zealand at the
London Games and was our first
Olympic gold in the sport since 1984.
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