Boards at the Olympics: Penultimate Day - Boards Windsurfing

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Boards at the Olympics: Penultimate Day

Dorian van Rijsselberghe has already taken gold, now just having to complete the medal race. There is an incredible team behind Dorian, supporting him all the way to his first Olympic victory. This team is headed up by the bronze medalist from the 2000 Sydney games and three time winner of the Mistral World Championships, Aaron McIntosh. Boards caught up with the Kiwi coach to find out his feelings on Dorian’s win and the secrets to his success. 

Getting to Gold

Dorian van Rijsselberghe. © onEdition

I’m quietly satisfied. We always believed in what Dorian could do and how he could do it. About a month out, from the Games, I said to him if you sail to the best of your ability you’ll smash the field or if you have an average regatta you’re going to be fighting for the medals with the other guys. The way the package came together, I could feel Dorian was starting to come into his own and feel comfortable with where we were at.

We still had the equipment that was delivered to us, we had to go through and analyse that, making sure we were happy with our equipment. We got through that, then we had to finalise the details. We had a nice light wind session towards the end of last week,  which just put the finishing touches to the package and then we had to make sure we had enough rest and stayed sharp. Then Dorian just brought it on the whole week, the guys didn’t really have an answer to anything.

There’s been moments of brilliance you’ve seen from Dorian over the last few years, you’ve always seen seven races of brilliance, now he’s just done nine races of brilliance. That’s really what the difference was, no mistakes, he didn’t put a foot wrong. It was his week to potentially loose if it didn’t go well, but he just sailed out of his skin. If you look at him, he’s cool, calm and collected, he kept the focus the whole time, never dropped the ball and always came back from a decision that wasn’t quite correct.

That’s his character, that’s his nature, he’s a fighter and he’s a winner. 

Aaron McIntosh racing in Sydney in the 2000 Olympic Games. ©Nick Wilson/ALLSPORT

The Medal Race

The medal race, let’s see how we go, we’re going to have a crowd on the Nothe and it’s a place that we’ve done quite a bit of training and an area we’re comfortable in, so it would be nice to do really well in the medal race, although it doesn’t really matter at this stage. One last blast!


With the relationship Dorian and I have created, I am sure we will do something together. Whether that’s in windsurfing, or kitesurfing, or whether it’s something else. Same shit, different basket. All the same principles apply, it’s a yacht race, It’s still understanding the equipment, getting yourself around the race course so it’s a possiblity. It’s too hasting to make a concrete decision at the moment, but we will have a lot of fun playing around with kitesurfing in the near future that’s for sure.

How ‘We’ Work Together

Like any athlete theirs a support network around them and I’m the closest to Dorian within the ‘we’. But we have the technical support we get too, the team manager, the logistics, the people that organise the intricate details and logistics. They’re all part of what we’re doing. In ‘we’ you can also include Zac (Plasvic of Canada, who is in 8th position going into the medal race) and JP (Tobin of New Zealand, currently in 7th position) they’ve been a huge part of what we’ve been doing. We set a plan and we managed to execute it nicely. We did the work and we had fun doing it, and I’ve always said when you do that the results will come.

Aaron and Dorian, having fun as always. © Richard Langdon

We’ve worked together for four years, over this time the team has grown and our relationship has strengthened. Whether Dorian needs me all the time or not, I’m his sounding board. If he wants to know something I’ll let him know what I think, I think my opinion is regarded well in his eyes. But he’s still his own person, he has to make his own decisions. Occasionally we beg to differ, but that’s it whatever his opinion is, is his opinion and we roll with it. I know there’s times he’s gone out to prove himself right and he hasn’t come unstuck too much!

Check out the other coverage today:

Nick Dempsey Interview

RS:X and Boards on RYA TV

Full women’s results.

Full men’s results.


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