Weather has been a defining factor for many sports recently. The Preliminary Rounds of Jump and Shortboard contests in Dubna took place in dismal, wet and windy conditions. However, the Finals were greeted by perfect water, sunny skies and an ideal westerly head wind for the Jumpers. This set a perfect stage for the 36 top ranked athletes from 13 countries who qualified for entry. It also added a lot to the enjoyment of the 30,000 cheering fans on site. With the red and white MasterCraft boat fuelled and ready to go at the starting dock, the story began.
In Women’s Shortboard, the four Finalists included the World Record Holder, Mandy Nightingale (USA). She won the China and Northern Ireland World Cup titles last year. Her score in Dubna of 7,700 points was both a Course Record here and enough to take the 2007 title in style. With just four Finals places, the surprise performances came from World Cup newcomers, 18 year old Marion Aynaud (FRA), and Tatiana Churakova (RUS). Aynaud took the bronze medal position with a score of 6500 points, just behind Danyelle Bennett (USA).
At this stage, the prevailing light head breeze had created a perfect setting for some great Jump performances. The cheering appreciative Russian audience added to the level of anticipation. With four Women Finalists, neither Marie Vympranietsova (GRE) or June Fladborg (DEN) could break the 50m distance. Again, the youngest athlete, Nancy Chardin (FRA), caused a sensation with a new Personal Best performance of 50.1m to take second place. She is certainly one to watch closely for the future. Last off the dock was the reigning World Champion, Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE). She passed on her first attempt and it looked like Chardin might have done the impossible. However, a very late cut to the Dubna Jump Ramp on her second attempt produced a winning score of 51.3m. for the Athens, Greece, based Andriopoulou.
A final thoughtful gesture from Dubna’s Mayor Valeri Prokh added to the great event. The spectators were asked to vote for their personality of the weekend. The Mayor presented the special crystal awards to the winners, Clementine Lucine (FRA) and Jaret Llewellyn (CAN).
1. Mandy Nightingale (USA) - 7700
2. Danyelle Bennett (USA) - 7150
3. Marion Aynaud (FRA) - 6980
4. Tatiana Churakova (RUS) - 6500
1. Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE) - 51.3m
2. Nancy Chardin (FRA) - 50.1m
3. June Fladborg (DEN) - 49.1m
4. Marie Vympranietsova (GRE) – 46.6m
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
photo David Cannon/Getty images