Santi Lange is one of the greatest, his story remarcable, his fight with cancer last year incredible. He came to the Euros last year one week after surgery were they removed a good part of his lung and he could barely talk, and now at age 55 despite two penalties in the medal he is on the highest spot. He is the new Nacra 17 olympic champion, he was specially emotional and quite rightly so. His life must have been going through his mind while he was climbing on the podium. He hugged his young crew as if he wanted to say so many things that he was not able to express, so he hugged her strong and for long thanking her for all the hard work. Then the medal cerimony had the start, after Miami he came and lived in Rio and his rest days were only the days when there was no wind.
Vasilij Zbogar, well it is not easy for me to write about him, as he has been training with us at Dinghy Academy basically every day since 2010. We tried to put together one America’s Cup team with Green comm. We won we lost, we fought we trained as hard as we could. His brother Jure supported him and coached him perfectly in the last two years and covered a role that for a brother is really not easy to cover. It has been a real pleasure to help him out and it was emotional even for me to see his joy reach the peak once he jumped on the podium. A great team supported him, but all of us could have done nothing if he would not be a legendary sailor: two medals in the Laser and now one silver in the Finn, what more can I say…
Giles won gold showing how good he is and that he deserved gold. He is a true champion and has a great future in sailing. Aussies and austrian completed the Nacra podium and both represented the good of a school that keeps on producing results. Mighty Australia and small Austria, a small nation, lot of big nations could learn from, as they keep on producing medallists. Italian Angelo Glisoni (the crew of the legendary multihull sailor Giorgio Zuccoli) ex Tornado world champion their coach.
Olympic bad luck keeps on plaguing the italian team, got to the medal races in gold with Tartaglini and in silver with Bissaro-Sicouri, they got away with nothing. They have to analize and understand why, regroup and start again hoping to break the negative streak in Japan.
In the Lasers Tonci Stipanovic was matchraced by Tom Burton, got two penalties and could not save his gold. Legendary Robert Scheidt won the medal race but it was not enough so australian Tom Burton took gold from Tonci and kiwi Sam Meech took bronze. In the Radials dutch Marit Bowmeester struggled in the Medal but sealed a great week with gold and Annalise Murphy wrote history for Ireland by winning silver from danish Anne Marie Rindom.
Well, it is getting dark, a great day full of enormous emotions is over. Sailing bringing the story of this Games with mythical Santiago Lange, whose love for life brought him to a fabolous results. Sailing creates generous leaders and decision makers. Yesterday we had the honour of receiving Jaques Rogge, honorary IOC president. He is now working for Ban Ki Moon and the United Nations bringing sport to refugee camps. His eyes expressing one immense happyness and joy when he told me: “Luca, you have no ideas what sport does to this refugees, how it changes their lifes”, and so the circle is closed from a deadly potentiall illness to honoring life to the extreme of winning gold at the Olympics, from running the IOC to helping refugees that run away from terrible wars to feel alive and safe again through sport.
Thanks Santi, thanks Vasco, thank you all. Your immense lesson will never be forgotten.