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World Sport

Brazilian Grael claims fifth medal


SPECIAL REPORT
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- Brazilian Torben Grael has made history by becoming the first sailor to win five Olympic medals.

Six-time Olympian Grael, 44, and team mate Marcelo Ferreira, 38, captured gold in the Star class with a race to spare. They embraced and punched the air as they crossed the finish line before launching themselves off their boat out in the Saronic Gulf.

"That's nice, I didn't know that... but it feels pretty good," Grael said when told of his milestone.

It was a second Olympic gold of the regatta for Brazil following Robert Scheidt's triumph in the Laser dinghy, matching Britain's sailing gold haul in Athens.

A fourth place in race 10 gave Grael and Ferreira an unassailable lead with the silver and bronze medals to be decided on Saturday, the final day of sailing.

The Brazilians were also Olympic champions in 1996 and bronze medallists in Sydney when they led going into the final race but were disqualified for a false start, scuppering their hopes of successive golds.

"Kind of," Grael said when asked if the Athens title made up for his disappointment four years ago.

"When you are at this level it's more than understandable that it's very difficult to win all of them. You win some and lose some, that's part of sport."

Grael, nicknamed "Turbine," also won silver in the Soling class in 1984 and bronze in the Star in 1988 with Nelson Falcao.

Grael surpasses Dane Paul Elvstrom, a four-time Olympic champion, Ukraine's Valentin Mankin, then competing for the Soviet Union and German Jochen Schumann, who all have four Games medals to their name.

The Star, a two-man boat with Keel, is the oldest of the Olympic classes, first contested in Los Angeles in 1932.


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