The 2001 â€“ 2004 Olympic Quadrennial has really come to a close for sailors with the release of the final ISAF World Sailing Rankings for the eleven Olympic Events sailed in Athens in the summer. For some classes it will be their last appearance for the foreseeable future following the decision of the ISAF Council in November to replace the Europe with the Laser Radial for 2008, and the Mistral with the Neil Pryde RS:X for the male and female windsurfing events.
The rankings for the RS:X, will begin to be calculated as soon as the class is scheduled into ISAF Graded Events.
Representing a gradual wind down in the Mistral Class since Athens, there isnâ€™t much movement within the fleet, or at least within the top twenty in these final rankings of the year. Since the last rankings on 2 September, Julien
BONTEMPS (FRA) has topped the list, followed by Athens Bronze medalist Nick DEMPSEY (GBR). Maxim OBEREMKO (UKR) has moved up from fourth to third ahead of the Polish legend 'Pont' MIARCZNSKI.
Further down the top twenty, Joao
RODRIGUES (POR) has continued the climb he began after dropping from third and falling to his lowest position of 26 position. He has now built up a solid list of results including a fantastic sixth place in the Athens 2004 Olympics. What will be interesting to see is whether or not he makes the switch into the Neil Pryde RS:X in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
With only the ISAF Grade 3 Enoshima Olympic Week, held from 15-18 October, counting towards these rankings, on top of previous results from Graded events, movement is bound to be small, and the future remains an unknown quantity as to how these athletes, if they choose, will compare in the new Olympic equipment for 2008.
In the Womenâ€™s fleet it is again only Enoshima Olympic Week that adds potential further points to the scores of athletes, and as such any movement can be attributed to the timescale of the rankingsâ€™ calculations and events falling from athletesâ€™ counted scores. As a result the top three in the rankings for the Womenâ€™s fleet remains as it was for the last rankings release from September 2004 following the Olympic Sailing Competition in Athens. Faustine
MERRET (FRA), Gold medalist in Athens, remains at the top, followed by Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) in second place and Great Britainâ€™s Natasha STURGES in third.
Further back, Olga
MASLIVETS (UKR) has jumped from sixth into fourth place and this represents the second biggest climb within the top twenty. Behind her, Anja KAESER (SUI), who finishes off the quadrennium in eleventh place, is up three places from her previous best of fourteenth and notches up her highest ranking position in the last two years.