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Debbie Capozzi's quest for sailing medal is over

Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty of

Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty of Australia compete against Anna Tunnicliffe, Debbie Capozzi and Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer of the United States in the women's Elliott 6m WMR Sailing on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (July 30, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Bayport native Debbie Capozzi and the Olympic sailing team's quest for a medal ended Wednesday with an upset loss to Finland in the women's Elliott 6-meter quarterfinals.

With the exception of the 1980 Olympics, which the United States boycotted, this will be the first time since 1936 that Team USA failed to earn at least one medal in sailing.

Finland edged the U.S. by two seconds to win its third race in the best-of-five series. They took the first two on Tuesday and Team USA beat them in Race 3 Wednesday morning to briefly stave off elimination.

In Race 4, the Finnish team led from the outset and withstood Team USA's late charge toward the leeward mark. "If we had another 100 yards, maybe it would've been a different result," said Molly Vandemoer, a member on the three-person boat with Capozzi and Anna Tunnicliffe.

The United States was eliminated from medal contention in several events earlier this week, including Huntington's Erik Storck and his 49er team. Wednesday, Shelter Island's Amanda Clark and her 470 team took ninth in the last preliminary race and qualified for Friday's medal round, but they won't compete for a medal.

Clark and crew mate Sarah Lihan finished 3:21 behind winner Australia in Race 10, bouncing back from a 17th-place finish in Race 9. The top 10 teams advance, but the points are cumulative and Team USA, with 78, is too far behind New Zealand (33), Great Britain (33) and the Netherlands (52) to medal.

The women's Elliott team had beaten Finland in the tournament's round-robin stage. As well, Capozzi's team won the 2011 world championship in Australia, which made them the favorites entering the Olympics.

“We sailed this regatta the best we could and it just wasn’t meant to be,” Capozzi said. “We sailed as hard as we could and fought every race. We don’t have any regrets.”

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