ATHENS 2004 - PREVIEW - WINDSURFER MEN AND WOMEN - MISTRAL
Posted On: 09/08/2004 20:23:04
The Men's and Women's windsurfing events are two of the most eagerly awaited tests of the 2004 Olympic Games. With 34 nations in the men's event and 26 in the Women's, they will be providing some competitive, physical racing throughout the Olympic Fortnight.
The Windsurfing event was introduced for men in the 1984 Olympic Games, and for women the event's first appearance was at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The Mistral One-Design has been used for Olympic equipment since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and since then there has been no one athlete who has dominated either fleet, although many have regularly featured in medal positions. Nikos KAKLAMANAKIS (GRE) won the first Olympic Gold medal using the Mistral One-Design in the men's event in 1996.
In the 34 nation entry for the men's fleet the ISAF World Sailing Rankings are led by current World Champion Julien BONTEMPS (FRA). Although this will be his Olympic debut, the French athlete has been on such dominant form over the last couple of years that it would be a brave person who bet against him being on the medal podium at the end of the men's competition
For the women's event it was Barbara KENDALL (NZL) who created history by becoming the first woman to win the event, competing at that time on the Lechner A-390. However, the first ever Gold medal using the Mistral One-Design went to Lee Lai SHAN (HKG). Interestingly, Neither Kaklamanakis nor Lee Lai SHAN could replicate the form that held them aloft in Atlanta, in Sydney in 2000. They both eventually finished sixth in their respective events on Sydney Harbour. But they will all be back again in 2004.