A clear and sunny Day 8 of adrenaline-packed Olympic racing on Guanabara Bay proved one thing: medal races are upon us.
But not before the United States celebrates their first Olympic sailing win at the Rio Olympics.
High fives were exchanged as Team USA's Paris Henken and Helena Scutt crossed the finish of race five of the 49erFX opening series. The dynamic American duo has officially won their first Olympic race.
The 49erFX, which made its Olympic debut in Rio on Friday, was even more exhilarating in race six. Although New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech lead for most of the race, Denmark, the Netherlands, the U.S., Spain and Brazil fought for the number two spot, with all still in close proximity of the Kiwis.
Heading into race seven on Monday, Denmark's Jena Hansen and Katja Salskoc-Iversen are in the lead, gold medal favorites and hometown heroes, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil are in second and France’s Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan are in third in the fleet overall standiings.
Team USA climbed six spots from 15th and are now in the top 10. They are ranked ninth overall after top-five results in their last three races.
New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke dominated in the first two races of the opening series.
They didn't win any of Saturday afternoon's races but still hold the lead heading into race seven on Monday. Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel are only three net points behind the Kiwis with 18.
Men's Laser and women's Laser Radial wrapped up their opening series races on Saturday afternoon; sailers will compete for Olympic gold on Monday.
Problems at the starting line in race nine of the men's Laser resulted in a general recall, or loosely put, a restart due to an infraction.
Races nine and 10, the final races of the opening series on Saturday afternoon, marked the last chance to climb to a top-10 spot to advance to the medal race.
Gold medal favorite, Great Britain's Nick Thompson, finished two seconds ahead of current leader, Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic in race nine. Thompson sits in third overall.
Heading into the medal races on Monday, Australia's Tom Burton took over the second overall position from five-time Olympic medalist, Brazilian legend Robert Scheidt, who was second overall after race eight on Friday but dropped to fifth overall after disappointing finishes in the day's last two races.
The last two opening series races of women's Laser Radial were nothing short of extraordinary.
Gold medal favorite Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherland's, who was 10 points behind Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom, proved why she was the heavy favorite to win gold. Bouwmeester overtook the lead and finished the opening series with 47 net points. Rindom has 55.
Ireland’s Annalise Murphy maintained the third overall position with 57 net points.
Evi Van Acker of Belgium, the silver medal favorite, improved from seventh overall to fourth after winning race nine.
Paige Railey of Team USA, who sat outside medal race contention, finished fourth in race 10 and improved her overall result to 10th. She will race for an Olympic medal on Monday.
Performing well on Thursday, with results of 4, 1, 1, and 5 in races three through six, Australian's Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are still in the overall lead with 46 net points, but there is a tie for second overall between Ben Saxon and Nicola Groves of Great Britain and Argentina's Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza with 49 net points.
Americans Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee capsized their catamaran in the day’s first race, and fell to 16th overall on Thursday, but improved on Saturday with decent results. They jumped four spots and are ranked 12th overall heading into the final three races of the opening series on Sunday. They will need to rank among the top 10 to advance to the medal race.
Great Britain's Scott Giles continues to impress, winning the seventh race of the Finn regatta; he maintains the top spot after finishing third in the eighth race. Giles will be nearly impossible to catch if he continues his dominance. Heading into the final two opening series races on Sunday before the medal races on Tuesday, Giles has only accrued 22 net points. In second-place overall, Slovenia’s Vasilij Zogbar has 38.
After a costly disqualification in race six, American Caleb Paine put together decent results in races seven and eight with 17th and seventh. He ended the day 15th overall with 79 net points.