Boards at the Olympics: Medalists Interviews

Boards caught up with the three medalists after the final Olympic windsurfing race, to gather their thoughts on the Games, their performances and the future.

Olympic windsurfing
Men's RS:X medalists

Dorian van Rijsselberge – Gold Medalist from Holland

Making It Look Easy

“I’m enjoying myself and sometimes people think when you’re enjoying yourself everything looks easy, but it’s never easy.

Yeah I’ve had a lot of fun, we haven’t been sitting on our bums the whole time, we’ve been cruising around having fun, giving people stick, those little things are a lot of fun!”

Sailing on the Nothe

“The crowds there are amazing, it’s so spectacular to have such crowds. As soon as you’re sailing on the course and everybody’s rooting for you, you just cannot not laugh. You get a smile on your face and a little bit of goosebumps too.

It is tricky, it’s never the same. You can work with it or complain about it, and I think that a strong point for me was that I dealt with it. Some people see problems, other people see opportunities and I am one of the guys that sees the opportunities and tries to work with what I get. This was proper sailing, it shows the tactics come into play even more than normal and I think that’s what it’s all about.”

Dorian van Rijsselberghe
Dorian van Rijsselberghe. © Boards Magazine / Adam Duckworth

How To Take Gold

“I think it’s the consistency that I’m sailing with, initiating tacks and gybes, I’m always trying to work hard for every little metre that I can get here and there. In the big picture it helped me a lot.

The conditions were great for me this week yes, but it always comes back to working hard on the race course. If you can take one place extra day, all of a sudden the spread is a lot.

People tell me I’m going so fast, but to me everyone has the same equipment so it’s hard to believe I am going that much faster. I was actually a little scared at the beginning of the regatta, because we had the practice race and Nick was going a bit higher than me.

When you’re racing at the front of the pack you have clear air and you can go where ever you want, to make the right decisions you can gain a lot rather than sailing in dirty air. Especially when two people behind you are fighting for two and three, you’re sailing away, it’s like that within any sailing class.”

Equipment at the Games

“I think the job that the supplier did with the equipment was amazing, the margins they have to work with are so little and they definitely did a good job. People complaining about the equipment is understandable, we’re top athletes so if there is a millimeter here or there, which is incorrect on the board we feel it and we want to get the maximum out of the boards so we’re really critical. But even though we’re that critical they still made a really good job with the equipment.”

The Future

“Yes, I’m planning to have a little look on those kites. I’ve been kitesurfing a little bit at home already, but not on the full course racing boards. I think it’s a bit early to know much about the kites just yet, it’s still super young sport but bring it on!

There’s no doubt about it, I would prefer it to remain on RS:X, windsurfing is supposed to be in the Olympics, there’s no doubt about that, it’s such a shame that it goes out.

A lot of schools and clubs in Holland are set up for windsurfing and are totally shocked about the decision to take kitesurfing to the Olympics, as there is no real structure for it yet. But otherwise, for me personally it’s a challenge, I’m willing to have a look and also see how the other windsurf guys come over onto kiting.”

Crazy Nicknames

“It’s crazy penis because in the World Championships in 2011 in Perth, I came off the water and the first thing I said to Dutch television was ‘yeah mate crazy penis’ (Ed – said in a bad kiwi/aussie accent!) the Dutch media guy thought it was a good line, kept it on the TV and broadcast it nationally. So everyone kind of took it on!”

Views on Nick

“Nick’s a good guy, so I’m so stoked for him. Out of all the other guys I know Nick is one that deserved silver, maybe more, but not as much as I did!”

Nick Dempsey
Nick Dempsey. © Boards Magazine / Adam Duckworth

Nick Dempsey – Silver Medalist from Great Britain

The Racing

“These moments don’t come around often and if you can share them with friends and family then even better.

Yeah I was nervous, but one the count down goes the nerves kind of go away and you start concentrating on the situation. I felt I was in control.

If it had like I had thrown it away it would have been a lot harder, but Dorian just sailed exceptionally well. I still feel like I did everything right, I sailed well. It definitely makes up for four years ago, although not entirely.”

The Future

“I think actually it’s a massive shame that windsurfing has currently been dropped, especially for this country and in fact the whole of windsurfing it’s a massive shame. I think this week the RS:X sailors demonstrated how good an Olympic discipline it is, how close it is, well except when you’re racing against Dorian, but how fair and how great a class it is within the Olympic games. I don’t really have much of an opinion about kitesurfing, I haven’t done it and I haven’t seen too much of it, but for windsurfing it’s not great.”

Training as a Family Man

“It’s been a lot harder to train for the Olympics, now as a family man. It’s the same as any demanding job, as soon as you have a family you have more to work for, but of course it’s harder. People often talk about the sacrifices they make within sport, but actually for me I never really made any sacrifices because I enjoyed what I was doing so much. The only sacrifice I’ve made is time away from the kids, it is emotional and it’s tough but it helps having an understanding wife and two well behaved boys.”

Przemyslaw Miarczynski
Przemyslaw Miarczynski. © Boards Magazine / Adam Duckworth

Przemyslaw Miarczynski – Bronze Medalist from Poland

Double Bronze for Poland

“I am very happy, my dream has come true, it’s amazing. I am very happy that Zofia also got a medal, two medals in windsurfing is incredible.

We are of course very happy, more or less we knew it would be possible to get two medals. Maybe we knew Zofia had a better chance as she won the test event here, I thought it would be much easier for her to wind a medal. Windsurfing in Poland is at a very high level, not only on the Olympic windsurfing but with the young people and formula windsurfing. Now to get two medals from the Olympics I think it’s a really great thing for Polish sailing.”

The Future

“For me if RS:X stays in the Olympics, I don’t know if I would have the energy and the motivation to continue to Rio. But in kitesurfing I am still fit and quite young, so maybe I will try. So it’s the motivation for me to make something completely different. I hope kitesurfing stays, but that there will also be windsurfing.”

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Neil Pryde

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