Douglas 8th at French Olympic Week

May 1, 2024

Sarah Douglas from ABYC, Toronto took the 8th spot overall in ILCA 6 at the French Olympic Week sailing competition that ended on Saturday in Hyères, France.
 
French Olympic Week, which showcases all ten Olympic classes and is reserved for nations which have qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, is a good opportunity to prepare a few months prior to the start of the Olympic competition considering that the ILCA 6 medallists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the last three world championships were all in action (except for the gold medalist in three of those events, Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark).
 
Following the cancellation of Saturday’s Medal Race due to blowing winds which were constantly at 25-32 knots, Charlotte Rose from the USA took first place, followed by Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands and Line Flem Oest from Norway.
 
“I’m happy with my week in Hyères. My main focus was to get off the starting line with a good lane and I managed to be successful in the majority of the races,” said Douglas. “The conditions were windy and cold for most of the week and I was happy with my speed around the course, I just need to work on carrying out the first best strategy correctly more often. Now we focus on preparations at the Olympic venue as we look towards Paris 2024.”

Canada’s Olympic Status Today
As it stands now, Canada will be in action in four events at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: ILCA 6, 49er, 49erFX and women’s kiteboarding. So far, Sarah Douglas (ILCA 6), Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester, NS (49erFX), as well as Will Jones from Aldershot, ON, and Justin Barnes from Pickering, ON, (49er), have all qualified to be nominated on Canada’s Paris 2024 Olympic Games sailing team. In women’s kiteboarding, the selected athlete will be known following the Formula Kite World Championships, which will kick off in two weeks in Hyères.

Last Chance Regatta
The 2024 French Olympic Week event was held simultaneously with the Last Chance Regatta, which was the last opportunity to qualify spots for countries at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
 
Even though Canada had representatives in ILCA 7, men’s kiteboarding as well as in women’s and men’s iQFoil, the country unfortunately did not qualify additional spots.
 
The closest athlete/team to do so were the team of Galen Richardson (Toronto, ON-RCYC) and Madeline Gillis (Halifax, NS-RNSYS) that missed out a qualification spot for Canada by just one point in Nacra 17.
 
“Going into the medal race , we were nine points away from Belgium in 3rd, and three points away from Japan in 4th. Entering the double point medal race, we knew we had to beat Japan with one boat in between us to secure Canada a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games,” said Richardson and Gillis. “The medal race was tight and we fell one point short of qualifying our country. It is devastating to be so close. Being one point away from qualifying for the Olympic Games is unbelievably hard to take in.”

“We have so much to be proud of, and so much to look forward to. We both felt every emotion possible this week. We are so fortunate that losing this qualifier is not the end for us, it’s the beginning,” they added. “Our journey towards the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games begins today. We’re excited for you to follow along.”

While Canada didn’t qualify additional spots at the Last Chance Regatta, another potential opportunity may come through World Sailing’s spots reallocation process.

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