It was light. It was tight. It was “Do or Die”. It was Medal
Race Day. Reserved for top-ten fleet racing finishers,
the medal races count double points so when differences
are marginal as they were for the bronze medal positions
in the RS:X windsurfing fleets anything can and does happen.
In RS: X Men’s windsurfing 37 board fleet, Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) kept his early regatta lead to finish 5th today and take the Gold Medal. Only two points behind him was Nick Dempsey (GBR) for Silver.
The turnover came in 3rd place with Julien Bontemps (FRA) surging past Nimrod Mashiah (ISR) and Ivan Pastor (ESP) to grab the bottom step on the podium. He sailed brilliantly to take second - 4 points - to Mashiah’s sixth - 12 points - to finish on equal points.
Count back rules favor the sailor who did better in the medal race so it was Julien who took the bronze medal just 2 points clear of Ivan and 3 in front of Ricardo Santos (BRA) in 6th.
In the 30-strong RS:X Women’s windsurfing fleet, Spain’s Marina Alabau sailed conservatively to finish 7th in her medal race, enough to take the gold medal by 5 points from Britain's Bryony Shaw. Marina won six in the 8 race lead-up series. She kept the pedal to the metal for the first 3 days building a virtually unassailable lead in the process. Bryony had also done enough in the lead-up to claim the silver medal.
Again the turnover came in 3rd place.
Laura Linares (ITA) won the medal race to claim the minimum 2 points. It was now up to Charline Picon (FRA) and Jessica Crisp (AUS) to stay in touch. A 5th and an 8th respectively was not enough. The multiple RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Champion was through.
She has spent the winter in Australia training and competing. First in the Perth International Regatta, then Sail Melbourne and finally in the 2010 RS:X Oceania Windsurfing Championships in Woolagong. This will probably be the most important year of her life and she is doing all she can to be ready to take the one prized national qualification slot to represent her country at the London Olympic Games.
Alabau has won the last three Rolex Miami OCRs and says the competition this year has been the toughest yet. “It is closer to the Olympics and the level is higher. Everybody is more prepared.”
“In the final medal count, 14 different countries won 39 medals, with eight different countries sharing Gold,” said US SAILING’s Olympic Sailing Committee Chair Dean Brenner at the final Rolex Prizegiving, held at Coral Reef Yacht Club.