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Sailing saves the day at the last second: Joan Cardona’s bronze in the Finn

Sailing saves the day at the last second: Joan Cardona's bronze in the Finn

After two disappointments in the 49er, the Spaniard takes the podium in the slowest class of the Olympics

Joan Cardona celebrates his bronze with the flag of Spain.CJ GUNTHEREFE
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Now or never is a cliché. “It’s now or never,” they say to themselves in the locker room, in the narratives, but there is always a tomorrow, another competition, a lot of future. To Joan Cardona, do not. For Joan Cardona this Tuesday was now or never. And I did it. By the hair, at the last minute, but he made it. His suffering bronze, the only joy for Spanish sailing on a day of disappointment, will be for life. Because most likely Cardona, after getting on the podium and despite his 23 years, will not be able to return to the Games because of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

He has an explanation: Cardona is a bigard. He measures 1.90 meters, weighs 100 kilos, is very strong and his body does not fit with the new Olympic sail. The success came in a Finn, the slowest boat of all, where technique influences more than lightness, but the IOC will eliminate that class from the Paris 2024 Games and it will be very, very difficult to recycle. Those who command want speed, flying boats, that ‘foilen’, that is to say, that they rise above the sea and for that the weight is very important. Cardona does not fit. I will try it in the Laser surely, but it will be very difficult.

For him, this Tuesday was now or never and he was saved in the last maneuver. After a remarkable start in the medal race, in the third round of five he stopped and came to sail second to last. The lost medal, his rival for that privilege, the New Zealand Josh Junior, I was ahead of him. A disaster. He was only saved by the tremendous equality of his class and his talent. In the last meters, in the last maneuver, he managed to get sixth, almost at the same time as six other boats and was able to celebrate. Junior fell to seventh place. The job was done.

“I knew I could still”

When he reached the shore, two of his friends from the team were waiting for him, Jordi Xammar and Joel Rodrguez, who will compete this Wednesday in the 470, to throw him into the water and to shake him. Cardona was happy, but not euphoric, the euphoria does not go with him. At only 23 years old, already runner-up in the world, tranquility is his way of life. “I knew that in the stern I could still overtake several boats, that we were very close together and, when I saw that the New Zealander lagged behind, I thought: ‘That’s it’.”, He declared and added: “Now I don’t know what I’ll do, no I know if I go back to the Games, but I already have a medal forever. “

His achievement was salvation for a sailing team that had fallen into depression in the morning in Enoshima, a seafaring town south of Tokyo. Early in the morning, in the women’s 49er Tamara echegoyen Y Paula Barcel They stayed at a point of bronze, and Echegoyen cried and cried with rage, but it was worse that of the male 49er of Iago Lopez Y Diego Botn. Despite starting the ‘medal race’ in third position and with a margin over fourth, they ended up losing the medal with a tie in points.