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Flying Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberghe clinches gold in Rio 2016 Olympics windsurfing

Barring some kind of disqualification, it'll merely be a victory lap before he collects his medal on the podium on Flamengo Beach.

By: AP | Rio Janeiro |
August 13, 2016 5:04:21 am
Rio 2016 Olympics, Rio 2016 Olympics news, Rio 2016 Olympics updates, Dorian van Rijsselberghe, Dorian van Rijsselberghe Netherlands, sports news, sports Dorian Van Rijsselberghe had just clinched his second straight Olympic gold medal in windsurfing. (Source: Reuters)

With the late-afternoon sun shining on his shaved head and the round mountains of Rio de Janeiro behind him, Dorian van Rijsselberghe of the Netherlands stood in his coach’s boat, smiled and flashed the hang loose sign with each hand.

Van Rijsselberghe had just clinched his second straight Olympic gold medal in windsurfing.

He still has to sail in the medals race on Sunday.

Barring some kind of disqualification, it’ll merely be a victory lap before he collects his medal on the podium on Flamengo Beach, with Sugarloaf Mountain as a backdrop.

For the second straight Olympics, he made it look easy.

Man, can this Dutchman fly across the waves.

“It’s unreal. I did it in London and I never expected it to happen again,” said the 27-year-old van Rijsselberghe, who spends considerable time living and training in the Southern California sunshine. “That it did happen again is just unreal.”

Britain’s Nick Dempsey clinched the silver. It’s a repeat of the top two spots in London.

The Dutchman and Briton congratulated each other after the 12th race of the series ended on the Atlantic Ocean.

Van Rijsselberghe had finishes of first, first and sixth _ his lowest of the regatta _ for 23 points. Dempsey went 5-7-8 for 44 points.

The bronze medal will be decided Sunday.

Dempsey won three of the first four races to lead the first two days. Van Rijsselberghe won the third race and then took over, winning six of the final eight races.

“I was very fortunate that Nick went off like a cannon the first couple of races, because it really showed me, OK, it’s not going to be easy,” van Rijsselberghe said. “We never thought it was going to be easy, but he showed me that if you really want this, you’ll have to work for it. I tried, I worked for it, and I got it.”

Van Rijsselberghe spends considerable time in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife, Sasha, and their young daughter.

“The wind’s better in Newport, a little bit further up, and especially Long Beach,” he said. “The lifestyle is amazing there. The people are nice, there’s mountain biking, surfing, good food, healthy. Sunshine. I like the sunshine.”

Van Rijsselberghe shaved his head for the second straight Olympics.

“It’s a great excuse at the games, so my wife will allow it,” he said.

Does it make him go faster?

“No, not really,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling. I like it. But not all the time.”

There were other big developments all over the boat basin.

Evi Van Acker of Belgium, the first competitor to report falling ill during the games from sailing on polluted Guanabara Bay, had finishes of 12th and second as the Laser Radials returned after a day off. The defending bronze medalist, she jumped from 10th overall to seventh.

“I’m doing better than two days ago,” she said. “I think I had a good day off yesterday. I was able to rest up and get some more energy. Today I had a 12th and a second so I gained some places in the overall ranking so I’m pretty happy with that. Also, the conditions were a little bit lighter and not as physical as two days ago so that was good for me.”

Her coach believes Van Acker contracted a severe intestinal infection while training in Rio de Janeiro last month.

In the men’s Laser, 43-year-old Robert Scheidt went 4-5 to put himself solidly in podium position with two races to sail before the medals races. Scheidt is trying to become the first sailor and first Brazilian to win six Olympic medals. He has 50 points and is second behind Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia, who has 47 points. Tom Burton of Australia is third with 52.

The women’s 49er FX made its Olympic debut with Canada’s Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd taking the lead after finishes of 5-4. Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze were tied for second with two other crews after going 9-1. Grael is the daughter of Torben Grael, who won five Olympic medals, including two golds.

The men’s 49ers opened with gold medal favorites Peter Burling and Blair Tuke winning twice. Racing was delayed for more than two hours due to a lack of wind, preventing a third race from being sailed. The Kiwis won the silver medal in London and then won 27 straight regattas before losing to the 2012 gold medalists, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen of Australia, last month in the South American Championships.

The Aussies had a rough opener, going 13-8 for 11th place.

“We haven’t lost the event but we definitely haven’t set the world on fire,” said Outteridge, who also is helmsman of Sweden’s Artemis Racing in the America’s Cup. `’It was a fine day, but we’re obviously looking to do better.”

Torben Grael’s son, Marco, and his crew, Gabriel Borges, are 12th.

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