So one race race is left in the Finn, the medal race. Today we had two really light wind races. On the way out me, Facundo Olezza and Alejandro Foglia had a laugh in the rib, the Finns on the tow, felt kind of like in Valencia. Some dirty jokes, the beautiful Rio in the back. Alejandro so far had not even raced so to say, but today he was relaxed. Off we went and rookie Facundo sailed brilliantly and won the race, hard to believe, one year and a half in the Finn, end of october last year he had surgery on his scafoid bone, and here he is with two wins in his first Olympics. He sailed 420 as a crew, sailed 49er, and now has taken up the master challenge. When he joined the Academy he sent me a very respectful e mail asking to be admitted. It has been a rollercoaster as he is a special one, but here is going really well. Alejandro had a third in this race while all sort of dramas was going on, Jake Lilley plunging backwords, Zsombor Berecz not flowing with the wind and Giles Scott sailing solidly as well as Zbogar, and Ivan Gaspic.
Second race, the wind picked up a bit and free pumping was on the cards, and Alejandro… won the race passing Giles on the last downwind. Facundo fought like a lion and so did Vasilij Zbogar, to end up in the medal race, ninth overall with a teoretical and minimal chance of bronze still. Vasilij is solid second, Giles Scott is already an olympic champion, the fifth time in a row for Great Britain, from Percy trough Ben, now Scott. He is the heavyweight king, hats down as he sailed solidly and deserved clearly the gold.
Giles Scott said: “I know what it meant to me because of the way it made me feel towards the last stages of that final race. I just found myself welling up and in tingles as it slowly dawned on me what I’d done. I wouldn’t put myself down as the emotional sort but I had a little cry to myself, which I like to think I don’t do that often. Just the emotions that come out of you in that situation you can’t prepare yourself for. It’s been amazing.”
“When we put the campaign together after London, Matt [Howard], my coach and I we decided that we wanted to campaign flat out. We weren’t going to go soft in any regattas and everything we went to, we wanted to win and win it in style.”
“That approach is great but it does put a target on your back. Especially two or three years out that target inevitably gets closer as everybody ups their game. To have been able to maintain that gap enough into the Olympics with a race to spare – it gives great justification to those decisions earlier on.”
Fight for medals is a bit open. Dinghy academy pupils won five races out of ten, but only Vasjlji put toghether the series… It was a bit emotional, races over and pressure decreasing, the Cristo Redentor on the back, going back on the rib to the marina lots of thoughts came through my mind. The emotions of being among the gods of Olympia for just one day, the drive to help young talents to try to get there, the medal ceremony… something that touches deep down and awakes emotions impossible to repeat in normal life.
Well done Dorian Rijsselberghe and Charline Picon, you are the first ones to win in this Olympics. Rio will be something you will never forget. The myth of Olympia what drives the athletes community back again and again. The challenge with yourself, the real one to win. Santi Lange is the hero of this Games. After defeating cancer, he is leading the Nacras overall, and his sons are here sailing too. What a beautiful sport sailing is, what depth and emotions are every time letting all of us know why we love it.