'Cardonita', the boy who did not want to leave his boat

“Cardonita, a bronze!”, Shouted another of the Spanish sailors, Jordi Xammar, and pushed him into the water of Enoshima beach to celebrate his medal and ‘Cardonita’ let himself be pushed, accepted the dip. If he had not wanted, with his corpulence, no one would move to Joan Cardona from the sand, less Xammar, to which he takes two heads, but it was time to let go. A few minutes after two disappointments in the two 49ers, the young sailor, only 23 years old, took the podium in Finn class on Tuesday to cheer up the spirits of the sail and push towards a second medal this Wednesday, precisely with Xammar, in class 470 (07:30 hours).

Have you already said goodbye to your boat?
No, no, he’s still there, in the water, and I don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye to him. To tell you the truth, I was so focused on getting a medal at these Games that I haven’t had time to think about what I’m going to do in the future.

In a quiet celebration, as he is, Cardona I sailed between happiness for success and sadness for goodbye. This Tuesday his was a now or never because the Finn class will disappear for the Pars 2024 Games and that will leave you on the ground. With its height, 1.90 meters, and its weight, 100 kilos, it does not seem that it can be adapted to another boat and less to those that enter the Olympic chart, who fly, who are all lightness. “I knew it could be my last regatta and that has led me to give it my all. If I can’t go back to the Games, at least I will take this medal,” commented tan pancho. So hot, that no one would say that he had just changed his life. At his side, his coach, Diego FructuosoFor example, he was extremely excited, congratulating and praising him. “He is very young, but he is very mature. How he has come back today after staying behind has been a demonstration of maturity! This boy has a lot of wood,” said the technician while Xammar I kept encouraging Cardona at the celebration, she tried to make her loosen up more, and she remembered an anecdote.

‘Cardonita’, the Olympic medalist who must now abandon his ship

On vacation in Menorca with your family, Xammar, Catalan, who already competes at international level, saw for several days a kid from the island who wandered all the coves with his little Optimist. “He was everywhere and I really wanted to sail so one day I came swimming towards him and I said: ‘Hey, look, I sail too, I’ve already been to a European, I know what I do, you could leave me the ship for a while? ” By then Xammar was a teenager and he expected Cardona, only six or seven years old, to agree under the weight of his palm. “But you know what he told me? No!” Xammar added, he laughed and didn’t hold a grudge against him, that’s for sure, because he always included Cardona in all his projects.

Hand in hand with Xammar, Cardona went to the 2017 Copa Amrica Junior when he was still a minor and with his hand he has competed since this year in Sail GP, the Formula 1 of water. Both events helped him grow until he reached the Olympic podium and, at the same time, set foot on the ocean sail, which now seems his future.

Born in Barcelona, ​​but raised in Mahn, fond of sailing thanks to his parents, who spent every summer sailing, Cardona stood out in Optimist, the initiation class for the majority, and at the age of 14 he already went to live at the Sports Technification Center in Palma de Mallorca. At the Club Nutico regatta course he learned to read the sea and there this Tuesday there were dozens of people celebrating his medal in front of a giant screen. “When you win a medal you can only think about that, on the way. I have thought about when I went to Mallorca as a child, about all the times that I have not gone out with my friends because the next day I had a regatta, in the whole help I received from my parents, my girlfriend … “, Cardona pointed out after being congratulated by Diego Botn Y Iago Lopez, the components of the 49er, two decomposed men, especially the first.

All members of the squad formed in that junior Copa América in 2017, the misfortune of some contrasted with the success of the other and, hence, perhaps also, Cardona’s calm at his party. “This is hard, this is very hard,” acknowledged Botn, who had to be treated by psychologists for a long time and that is why he coincided in the mixed zone with the new medalist.

Lights and shadows

An hour before Cardona competed, Botn and Lpez had lost a bronze that was almost on their necks. Like their Finn friend, they also started in third place the ‘medal race’, the decisive test, the one that double ended, but unlike their Finn friend, they could not stand the pressure of the fourth classified, the Germans Erik heil Y Thomas Ploessel. There was an instant that decided everything. “They took a risk, they went to the right, and we took another direction. We thought there was more wind, but we were wrong. had. They tied at 70 points in third place with Heil and Ploessel, but in those cases the best in the medal race rises to the podium and of course …

“You have it there, you have it there”, summarize the feeling Tamara echegoyen that together with his companion from the other 49er, Paula Barcel, experienced a similar sensation, perhaps not so stark. They started from the fourth position, they had to go back and they stayed at a point, a single point. Echegoyen, who was gold at the London 2012 Games and who lost the medal in the medal race at the Ro 2016 Games, remembered his joys and sorrows while crying. “This has nothing to do with London, that was worse, but it still makes me very angry,” he acknowledged to leave the door open to his retirement, at 37 years old. The new generation has been pushing, despite the problems.

Some were left this Tuesday without the first medal of their lives and that they already got on the podium, ‘Cardonita’, Joan Cardona, now he will have to abandon his ship.