Sons inspire cancer survivor, 54, to gold

Argentinians Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli celebrating their mixed multi-hull Nacra 17 success. One of Latin America's most legendary sailors, Lange lost a lung to cancer a year ago but bounced back to win his first-ever gold in his sixt
Argentinians Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli celebrating their mixed multi-hull Nacra 17 success. One of Latin America's most legendary sailors, Lange lost a lung to cancer a year ago but bounced back to win his first-ever gold in his sixth Olympics.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO • Argentinian helmsman Santiago Lange and crew Cecilia Carranza Saroli won gold in the Nacra 17 mixed catamaran class on Tuesday, after a fast medal race that saw wind pick up smartly on the Pao de Acucar course on Guanabara Bay.

Lange, 54, the oldest sailor at the event, overcame more than his rivals on the water to win. A year ago he lost a lung to cancer.

He credited his sons Yago and Klaus, representing Argentina in the men's 49er two-person skiff, for helping him build his strength and confidence to compete again.

"They were a great inspiration to me, my strength," he told reporters.

"For the first time they were able to join me at a medal ceremony."

One of Latin America's greatest sailors - many of the region's young prospects learn on the Optimist dinghies made by his company - Lange is competing in his sixth Olympics, after missing London 2012.

The medal is his third, after winning two bronze medals in the now discontinued Tornado catamaran class.

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin of Australia came within a single point of gold but their second-place finish was not enough to close the gap built up by the Argentinians in the 12 preliminary races before the medal round.

Bronze went to Austria's Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank, marking their country's first medal of the Rio Games.

They finished the medal race with 78 overall points, the same result as Australia.

The tie, though, was broken because they finished third in the medal race, one spot behind Waterhouse and Darmanin.

The results were the tightest of the 2016 Olympic regatta.

A day of steady and firm to strengthening winds allowed organisers to complete four medal races after two of them - the men's Laser and women's Laser Radial classes - were postponed on Monday. The other race was in the men's Finn class heavy single-person dinghy.

The organisers had originally expected to move the Nacra 17 medal race to today.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline 'Sons inspire cancer survivor, 54, to gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe