Beadsworth - Sydenham - Parkin

Preparation complete, Britain's Olympic Soling team wait for the first gun
The Soling fleet/match-racing class at the Sydney Olympics is going to be one of the hardest to call with up to six crews capable of winning a medal on their day. Although there are only 16 nations admitted to the class for the Olympic regatta, the fleet/match format and the progressive knock-out structure makes it arguably the toughest gold medal available at Rushcutter's Bay. The opening six fleet races beginning on September 17th are almost certainly going to be held outside Sydney Harbour Heads where big swells and breaking waves can make life very difficult. If you survive the cut there, the match racing will then take place in what are likely to be light and shifty conditions just off the Sydney Opera House - it's going to be a complete test. The Soling finals will be held on Olympic sailing's most spectacular stage and there are some class acts bidding to play a part. Among them: Jochen Schumann, the German triple gold medallist and defending Olympic champion in the class; Jesper Bank of Denmark who won gold at Barcelona in 1992; Roy Heiner of Holland who has an Olympic medal in Finns and has been the top Soling skipper over the last year, and Jeff Madrigali of the United States who won bronze in Solings in Savannah and this year won the class fleet racing world championships. The list goes on - the Frenchman Philippe Presti is also a potent threat, for example. Each of them is capable of taking the spoils in Sydney. But they all also have one other thing in common - they have each been beaten at one time or another by Great Britain's Soling contenders, Andy Beadsworth, Richard Sydenham and Barry Parkin, strong candidates for a medal of any hue. Beadsworth, who has competed in Solings since