Silver star Dempsey finishes work...
Jubilant Nick Dempsey won an emotional Olympic windsurfing silver medal at Weymouth and Portland today (Tuesday 7 August) and then revealed three-year-old son Thomas asked, “Are you finished work yet, Daddy?”
Dempsey dispelled four years of heartache, having finished an agonising fourth at Beijing 2008, by finishing third in today’s double points medal race to comfortably claim the silver medal on the waters of the town he has made his family home.
The Peterborough-raised athlete, who turns 32 next Monday, has paid tribute to his double Olympic gold medal winning wife, Sarah Ayton, in the build-up to London 2012 as she gave him a four-month ‘pass’ to concentrate on his final preparations while she looked after the couple’s sons Thomas and five-month old Oscar.
The medal is Dempsey’s second piece of Olympic windsurfing silverware, the Peterborough-raised man having won bronze at Athens 2004. After crossing the finish line, Dempsey headed straight towards his friends and family who were gathered on the Nothe spectator hill where he lifted up a smiling Thomas.
Nick revealed: “We just had a little chat. I was really wet and I thought he was going to complain about me making him wet. Then he just looked and me and said ‘Are you finished work yet Daddy?’ That’s all he said, ‘Are you coming home now Daddy?’ All my family apart from Sarah were on the Nothe, Sarah was on one of the boats. I have barely seen her all week!
“I’m most looking forward to going home and spending some time with the wife and kids and actually being a family again. It’s been pretty insane the last 8 months.
“It has taken me a long time to get over Beijing and I think I am over it, just about. This is just amazingly special. With it being at home, it’s just incredible to have all your friends there and your family. It’s not often you get to share these amazing moments in life with all your friends and family because you are always halfway around the world. It will be amazing catching up with them all tonight.”
Dempsey went into today’s double points’ medal race, sitting second overall, 11 points clear of Toni Wilhelm (GER) in bronze medal position and 17 points ahead of Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) who occupied fourth spot.
Dempsey knew a finish in the top nine would guarantee him a medal while silver would be his if he finished in the top six. Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) had already wrapped up the gold medal with an unassailable lead heading into the final race.
The Brit got off the line fast and rounded the top mark in third, a place ahead of the Polish athlete who had to win the race to be in with a shot of overtaking Dempsey. Keeping an eye on Wilhelm and Miarczynski, and the battle unfolding between them for a medal, Dempsey took a more conservative stance as he held third position and sailed over the line comfortably ahead of both his closest rivals to secure silver.
Dempsey added: “I slept about an hour last night and I was nervous but I think once the countdown goes the nerves kind of go away. You start concentrating on the racing and the situation. It was rather nice when the start opened up a little bit, 10 seconds to go, and I thought well this is a nice lane out of the start line. I wouldn’t say I relaxed but I felt in control.
“Dorian sailed exceptionally well and he deserved to be where he was. It makes it much easier for me if somebody else wins rather than me losing it, so it wasn’t that hard to come to terms with. I feel that silver was the right result for how I’ve sailed this week and the conditions we’ve had. Had we had different conditions then it would have been a different story. We didn’t so I’m happy with where I finished.
“I think Thomas will like the medal. It will hang on the end of his bed I’m sure and get thrown down the stairs! He has taken my medals into school before, he loves them.”
Dempsey’s medal followed Ben Ainslie’s Finn gold and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson’s Star silver on Sunday.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.