SofiBekatorou and EmiliTsoulfa
The World Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex honored the winners with the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2004 in Copenhagen on Tuesday evening.
SofiBekatorou and EmiliTsoulf (Greece) won the hearts of their entire nation when they won the gold medal in the 470 in their own country and celebrated frenetically with their compatriots. The duo achieved the superior victory prematurely before the last race in Athens and was all the more impressive since the helmsman had a serious back injury in the middle of the year that prevented her from sailing. In June 2004 the women even had to cancel the World Cup in Croatia because of this.
But at the beginning of the games they were in top shape again and dominated the regatt almost at will. They won five out of ten races and finished three second places. In the end, they won by 24 points over the second. That was the largest gap in all eleven sailing disciplines. This outstanding achievement was already rewarded by the ATHOC Organizing Committee, when Bekatorou and Tsoulf were selected to put out the Olympic flame at the closing ceremony. Before the Olympic Games, both won the ISAF World Championship in 2003, their fourth World Championship title, as well as other top international regattas. In 2002 you were already World Sailor of the Year.
The women received their award from the hands of His Majesty King Constantine of Greece. SofiBekatorou gave the acceptance speech for the duo: "To be here among all the guests of honor is in itself a tribute to our career. During our campaign we gained a lot of experience and learned to fight to overcome difficulties. The greatest progress was the process of Teamwork. It's very similar to the ceremony that evening. There are only a few people on stage, but the result is based on the support of a large team and from ISAF. We are thrilled to be here. Thank you the ISAF and Rolex for the honor and privilege."
The 470 women want to continue sailing in the Olympics and have also expressed interest in the America’s Cup.
Robert Scheidt (Brazil), who speaks German well because his family has German roots, wrote sailing history back in May 2004, because no one before has won so many World Cup titles within a decade. Scheidt became laser world champion for the seventh time in ten years. He set another record in Athens, where he failed to finish in the top eight in only two of eleven individual races and won his third Olympic laser medal, gold for the second time. This has never happened before in the class.
In the nomination for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, extraordinary achievements in the period from September 1, 2003 to August 31, 2004 were assessed. During this period Scheidt collected titles en masse. His worst result was second place at the 2003 ISAF World Championship. He finished all other high-class regattas at the top of the podium.
The award was presented by HRH Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark. Afterwards Robert Scheidt thanked him: "It is a great success to be World Sailor of the Year. I am very proud of that and of what I have achieved this year. I thank my family, my sponsors and my coach, all of which helped me a lot to get to the top of the sailing world. Best wind! " Robert Scheidt has won the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year title for the second time since 2002. His further ambitions are another Olympic campaign for 2008 and participation in the America’s Cup 2007.
The presentations were made by three-time Olympic medalist Jesper Bank from Denmark. More than 500 guests of honor from 50 nations, including numerous prominent sailors and representatives of the sailing world, took part in the celebration in Cirkusbygningen in Copenhagen. The winners received a Rolex Yachtmaster wristwatch in steel and platinum and the coveted marble and silver trophy for the world sailors - a solid marble globe crowned by five silver spinnakers representing the five continents.
The other nominees for the 2004 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards were: