Windsurfer Nick Dempsey has guaranteed he will claim a second successive Olympic silver medal after his performance in Rio yesterday (August 12).
Scores of fifth, seventh and eighth from the RS:X Men’s three races on Guanabara Bay last night mean Dempsey, who turns 36 today, cannot lose the silver in tomorrow’s Medal Race. But gold is out of his reach with Dorian Van Rijsselberge from the Netherlands doing enough to claim overall victory.
With tomorrow’s Medal Race worth double points, Dempsey, who is now set to retire from the sport with three Olympic medals - silvers at Rio and London 2012 and bronze from Athens 2004 – cannot be caught by Piotr Myszka of Poland, who currently sits third overall.
But even if he was to win tomorrow’s medal race – claiming two points – and Van Rijsselberge was to be disqualified and score the worst possible result of 22 points, the Dutchman would still finish the event one with a point advantage over the Brit.
Dempsey, who grew up in Peterborough and learned to windsur at Ferry Meadows, said: “I feel very happy to have won a silver medal. It’s cool, it’s amazing. It’s nice to have had a good spell at the top and be competitive over five Olympic Games. I’m pretty proud of that.
“A year ago I finished nowhere near the podium and I knew I had a lot of work to do. The last 12 months have gone really well and I’ve worked really hard. It was nice to come here with a chance of a medal and silver is awesome. I can do what I want in the medal race! It’s a little parade and it will be the last race of my career.
“Today it was a case of trying to keep in touch. Dorian came straight out and won the first and second race, he’s rocking in those conditions. He won it today rather than me losing it. He should be very happy. It’s been an amazing week.”
Dempsey, competing at his fifth Olympics after making his debut at Sydney 2000, started the day with gold still in his sights. But as London 2012 champion Van Rijsselberge won the first two races of the day all eyes turned to the various medal permutations that could arise from the third and final race of the day.
The Dutchman rounded the first mark in fifth ahead of Dempsey in eighth, but most importantly for the Brit’s silver chances, with the Pole lagging in 18th.
As the race unfolded Myszka failed to make a big dent in the distance between himself and Dempsey and when Van Rijsselberge crossed the line in sixth, Dempsey in eighth and Myszka in 16th the top two medal places were sealed.
Dempsey added: “I’m unemployed as of next week, I’ll have to get a job! I’d like to do photography if I can make it work and a bit of coaching. I’d like some new challenges and new goals and I want to keep being driven in life and achieve something else.
“Tomorrow is a day off and it’s my birthday, and Sunday is my last race ever so I’m going to want to win. I’ll mostly hold off celebrating until after racing. I want to be the best teammate I can be to rest of team.”
The RS:X Men’s Medal Race is scheduled to take place at 5pm (BST) on Sunday on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf) course.