Olympic Windsurfing Sails!
Champions crowned at the Youth Olympic Games windsurfing regatta.
The conclusion of the windsurfing regatta at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore was thrilling! The competition lasted for nine days. That's really exhausting.
First, it's exhausting mentally, because you have to stay sharp the whole time and handle the distractions.
It is also physically tough. Windsurfing can be done in every wind condition, but contrary to what you might think, it's harder physically with very little wind. That was certainly the case in Singapore this week.
In light conditions, competitors need to continuously move their sail around to propel their board. That’s called 'pumping' and it's a tough test of endurance.
The last race counted double-points, but that didn't change who won the gold medal in either the girls’ or boys’ fleet. Siripon Kaewduang-Ngam from Thailand and Mayan Rafic from Israel dominated the regatta throughout.
The last race did, however, decide the silver and bronze medals. In the girls’ fleet, Italy took the silver, while Singapore won bronze. For the boys’, silver went to Hong Kong and the bronze to Great Britain.
It's always difficult to spot the action from the shore in a windsurfing regatta, but for that last race, groups of people gathered around the few who had binoculars. We were all on the edge of our seats!
When it was over, all the boats—including the officials, technical teams, and coaches—came back honking! It was really loud and playful. Everyone on shore was cheering, especially for Audrey Yong from Singapore, who clawed her way into the medals with that last race. The whole scene gave me goosebumps!
You may remember from an earlier post that my big sister Margot also competed in windsurfing! She didn't finish among the leaders, but learned a lot and raced a great medal race.
She was beaming when she got back to the beach. I asked her about what this regatta meant to her.
“It was absolutely spectacular," she told me. "What we experienced here in Singapore’—the tough competition, the Olympic life, the organization, the friendships we made—I'll remember this forever!"
I talked to some other competitors after the race, asking them to summarize their experience in one word.
Here's a multi-lingual sample of what I heard: Great, Incredible, Amazing, Awesome, Fantastic, Inoubliable, Impressionnant, Fun, Divertida.
The competitor from Estonia summarized his experience as, "Suure parane." My Estonian is a little rusty, so I looked it up online. It means “big improvement.”
Here’s my one word for all the competitors: Bravo!
PHOTOS: (TOP) Margot Samson (USA) and Audrey Caron (Canada) congratulate each other after windsurfing competition ends. (BOTTOM) Hanna Idziak (Poland) is interviewed by Kid Reporter Charlotte Samson at the windsurfing competition in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. (Photos by Charlotte Samson)