An Olympic Dream, Claimed by two Women

RS:X Pacific Coast Championship - Farrah Hall

Two of the top Americans in women’s windsurfing are packing their wetsuits this week and traveling to New Zealand to compete in the RS:X world championships as part of their training for the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

This is not unusual for athletes preparing for the Games, but only one of the women, Nancy Rios, is slated to represent the United States next summer. The other woman, Farrah Hall, is disputing the results of the team-selection trials in October. She contends that the results of an arbitration hearing in the winter will have her, not Rios, walking in the opening ceremony.

To complicate matters, the women’s windsurfing class is the only Olympic slot in sailing that the United States has yet to qualify for. There are 15 countries vying for seven open slots in the Games. If Hall’s case fails, she could be competing to earn Rios a spot in the Games.

The disputed incident at the windsurfing trials involved a collision at the start of the hotly contested last race. Rios and Hall were close on points and had begun racing when another competitor, who did not have the right of way, crashed into them.

Hall, 26, faltered but was able to resume sailing and went on to win the race. Rios, 19, was knocked into the water and her sail sustained an 8- to 10-inch tear. She had one of her worst finishes.

After the race, a tearful Rios filed a request for redress, asking a race jury to award her a better finish. The jury found in her favor, giving her fewer points than Hall and first place over all.

'I was in the shower completely excited after realizing something I had been working so hard for,' Hall said. 'They pulled me out of the shower and told me I needed to hear a decision from the jury.'

For the remainder of this story http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/26/sports/othersports/26wind.html?_r=1&oref=slogin!click_here

Sail-World Editor's note: Farrah Hall arrives in Auckland on Monday. She is training here with the Polish team, and has a pretty nifty website at www.farrah-hall.com. It is very informative and great writing and also includes a good account of the incident at the US trials http://www.farrah-hall.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=52&Itemid=5!click_here
http://www.sail-world.com/40322