Lijia Xu: The Best Race in my Sailing Career

Published on May 31st, 2016

World Sailing looks back at some of the great Olympic sailing moments during the build up to the Rio 2016 Games. This report focuses on Chinese Laser Radial sailor Lijia Xu…

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Lijia Xu

Imagination matters when growing up. Children pictures themselves as their heroes and heroines. From film stars, sporting heroes, astronauts and firemen, the list goes on.

Having a vivid imagination is key and playgrounds and playrooms are transformed into iconic venues such as the Brazilian football stadium, the Maracana and Hollywood’s Red Carpet. As children grow up, the imagination helps to form dreams which can often turn into reality.

However, sometimes when you’re about to achieve your dream, it’s important to remember the innocence of a childhood imagination.

It seems farfetched that on the eve of a four-way Olympic showdown that a soon to be Queen of Chinese Olympic Sailing did exactly that, imagining herself as an A-list actress, parading in front of the world’s showbiz media on the red carpet of a Hollywood premiere, eyes of the world on her in an attempt to relieve the pressure of Olympic sport.

For Lijia Xu, it worked.

Heading into the Laser Radial Medal Race at London 2012, China’s Xu was one of four sailors in with a shout of gold. Out of Xu, Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Annalise Murphy (IRL), it was winner take all.

Far from being a perfect race for Xu, it was however, her best Olympic race.

“I meditated and pretended to be an elegant actress with numerous cameras on me,” explained Xu. “I sailed the race in my mind over and over again and I was prepared for the spectators on the Nothe course and lots of cameras.”

As the cameras started to roll, each leading contender concentrated on their own efforts as whoever crossed the finish line first would be crowned Olympic champion.

Bouwmeester took the early initiative but it then swayed to Murphy and then to Xu. As Xu looked to take control, she was penalised on the first downwind and forced to make a penalty turn, handing the advantage back to Bouwmeester. However, Xu was in the mood and focused solely on what had to be done. She grabbed the lead and held on to cross the finish line to take Olympic glory.

Watch the Medal Race … click here.

20120806 Copyright onEdition 2012© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Lijia Xu (CHN) who won Gold the Medal today, 06.08.12, in the Medal Race Women's One Person Dinghy (Laser Radial) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition runs from 29 July to 12 August and brings together 380 of the world's best sailors to race on Weymouth Bay. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has appeared at every Olympic Games since 1908. In 2012 athletes from 63 nations are competing across ten Olympic sailing events. For additional images please go to: http://www.w-w-i.com/isaf_sailing_2012/ For more information please contact: Daniel Smith, marketing@isaf.co.uk or phone +44 (0) 7771 542 131 If you require a higher resolution image or you have any other onEdition photographic enquiries, please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email info@onEdition.com This image is copyright the onEdition 2012©. This image has been supplied by onEdition and must be credited onEdition. The author is asserting his full Moral rights in relation to the publication of this image. Rights for onward transmission of any image or file is not granted or implied. Changing or deleting Copyright information is illegal as specified in the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. If you are in any way unsure of your right to publish this image please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email info@onEdition.com

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