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wSunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing - it's over...

Jian Yin wins the RS:X Womens Gold medal! photo: Richard Gladwell

Nikola Girkes final report:

What seemed like the never ending regatta, ended today. We finally got one last race in today to complete our 10 race series. I'm a bit confused as which days we raced and which ones we didn't as for the past few days we've been having two races in the morning, then postponed on shore until further notice with the intention of completing a third race later in the day. So, the waiting game continued.

Yesterday the wind was great, that was at least the case before our start. At about 5 seconds to the Starting gun, I was coming in fast on starboard by the committee boat and got struck down by the Chinese girl. In front of me there was a pile up, as one girl fell, the next couldn't do anything but fall herself and it was a bit of a domino effect where I ended up getting the Chinese girls' sail falling on mine. So, as everyone started racing, I was swimming. With the strong current, I was sucked behind the committee boat and in a no wind zone. Once up, without wind in my sail, I fell back into the water. Ugh!!!! I tried to stay calm and focused on the race but with the rest of the fleet minutes ahead of me, I was in for a long uphill battle. The wind dropped quite a bit and I must say I had to take some risky tactical decisions to try to catch up, but they didn't work either...

I did beat a few boards but about 5 meters before I crossed the finish line, the time limit was up and I was scored a DNF (did not finish). Our race target time is 30-35minutes and this race ended up way over an hour. Needless to say, that became my new discarded race and I was exhausted both mentally and physically.

Race two of the day didn't really go my way either - I did get a good start but just wasn't able to make anything out of the race. I finished 18th. We then got sent ashore for a rest before the 3rd race of the day was supposed to happen. We finally got sent out later in the afternoon - the wind was dying and the current increasing. The guys fleet started but when they got a 50degree shift, the race committee abandoned the race and then blew off the day for all of us and sent us in... which meant we had to finish off one last race today.
I was going to make it a good one... And for the most part it was. I had a great start but failed to tack quick enough when I had the chance. The Chinese girl who I started next to went on to win the race while I was mid-pack. Some gains and some losses had me finish in 15th today, which kept me in the same position of 17th overall.
Tomorrow is the medal race for the top 10 girls. Unfortunately I missed out. I will enjoy my first day of not being on constant stand-by to stand-by as we have been in full racing mode for the past 9 days and that is pretty exhausting in itself.

Will write more once rested. Thank you for all your supportive emails! It was great to receive each and every one of them - they are one of my sources of inspiration!

posted by editors at 8/24/2008 07:18:00 PM | (0) comments

wThursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Windsurfing

The Opening Ceremonies were amazing. We were flown to Beijing arriving mid day on the 8th. We had all day to check out the Athletes Village - it was huge and very well done and it was really neat to see all the different athletes too. Checking out the Athletes gym was quite amazing, seeing all the different body types doing all their pre-games prep. At 6pm all of us were herded together to take buses to the Stadium to wait....there were over 300 buses waiting for us. It was an unbelievable sight of just rows and rows of buses. First we got taken to the Stadium where they hold the Gymnastics events. We were to wait there until Canada was called to walk into the Opening Ceremonies (63rd country). While I was waiting I walked around, traded pins and met lots of athletes. Perhaps you might even recognize a few of them on the pictures??? A long wait later we finally got to walk into the stadium. The roar of the crowd was unbelievable and there were so many distractions of where to look in amongst all the excitement. A few of my teammates and I got to pole position in the Canada line up and made several pictures in newspapers. I carried my big Canada flag that had lots of good luck wishes on from the West Van Community Day, friends and family!!! You guys were all there with me! Thank you! We stayed the night in the Village and left the next morning back to Qingdao. Full VIP service, the plane stopped on the tarmac, we walked off the plane straight onto the buses that were waiting for us and were shuttled back to the front entrance of our village. That was very welcome after a very short and tiring night.

And now for the racing... 4 Races under my belt!

Yesterday we waited on shore for a few hours due to lack of wind. We were finally sent our around 2pm and luckily the wind filled in nicely... to a maximum of 7knots or so. I had a pretty good first race - I ended up finishing 13th. I had a great start near the 3 up from the pin but then the right side ended up coming out ahead. I did not round the top mark very well, but fought back, had a super second upwind beat and was able to make a massive comeback from 18th place.
The second race I had a super start on port at the committee boat end. I was at the top mark in 9th and throughout the race I had lost a place, then regained that place, then lost a few then made a huge again....and I was 9th at the second last mark, then on the downwind I lost a bit and unfortunately let a board get inside of me at the last mark to the finish. This caused me to be on the outside of the rounding and the gap was open for another board to come through. I was getting rolled and there wasn't much I could have done. I finished 14th in that race - a bit disappointing after working so incredibly hard to be up there.
I do have to say that I have been consistent in my results so far and with only 4 races sailed, much can change and consistency does pay off :-)

Today is our rest day!!!!!!!! A much needed one as I am in need of rest.
Thanks for your support,
Nikola Girke

posted by editors at 8/14/2008 01:39:00 PM | (0) comments

wTuesday, August 05, 2008

Beijing Opympic Games

The International Sailing Federation ISAF has just launched its own online Olympic Competition microsite. This will probably have the most up to date results, pictures and news:

The Canadian Yachting Association features RS:X lady Nikola Girke of Canada here (photos and 2 vids):

posted by editors at 8/05/2008 09:20:00 PM | (0) comments

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