Allan wraps up first Olympic Games

| 15/08/2016
CNS Local Life

Florence Allan during her last Olympic races

(CNS): Florence Allan completed her first Olympic Games with 33rd and 36th finishes in races nine and 10, respectively, for a 36th overall ranking, leaving her out of the medalling race today (15 August), which is reserved for the top 10 competitors. That event will likely be her one of her last Laser Radial regattas, she said, Allan said, due to her weight disadvantage in that class.

“I think this is probably one of the last regattas that I will do. It was kind of weird to come off the water thinking that was the last time I will sail that boat.” One of the lightest in the event, Allan explained it is unlikely that her weight will increase as much as she needs it to in order to continue in Laser. She said her only way forward is to move to another sailing event, the Nacra 17 Mixed Race.

“Nacra has two hulls instead of one and it has three sails. To be able to combine weight with someone else you don’t have to be as heavy and then the boy can bump it up a little,” she said.

Nacra 17 is a performance catamaran used for racing. It is the first time there has a mixed discipline on the Olympic sailing programme.

“It’s kind of a relief in a way that it is over because of all the stresses of racing and to take a break, because I am pretty tired,” Allan said. “At the same time, I don’t want it to end. The atmosphere is really cool and just being able to race [at the Olympics] it’s just really, really great.”

Allan struggled with an emotional and devastating day of races on 11 August, where she was unable to complete the open-ocean course in the allotted time and received a DNF (did not finish) in both races. At only 125 pounds, Allan struggles with winds above 7 knots, which occured most race days.

“Honestly, I felt a bit broken mentally after that day (11 August) and I still felt that yesterday, while I found it really hard to adjust mentally,” Allan said. “I was just broken inside. But today I just had to take a step back, put everything into perspective and realize how great the opportunity has been and not to spoil it with being bummed down after that day. I just went out and had fun.”

Completing all five days of the regatta, Allan’s tallied 346 total points, finishing 16 points ahead of Algeria’s Imene Ouneyssa Cherif Sahraoui and just six points behind Teau McKenzie of the Cook Islands.

“It’s been hard obviously. It’s a really tough regatta and it was hard mentally to keep it together because of the breeze. It wasn’t what I was expecting to come in here at all, but even with that said I have never enjoyed racing like this, so it was really cool to be out there,” she said.

Sailing alongside 37 of the best athletes in the world, Allan said she got more than she bargained for coming to the Olympics Games. “On the second day, I was able to climb up to 20th at one point, I think. It was just really amazing to realise that if you work hard enough then you can be amongst the people that you have idolised for a really long time. Just to be in a race among really, really good people and to pass people like that was really, really special,” she said.

As one of the youngest competitors in her fleet, 18-year-old Allan says the Olympic Games hasn’t seen the last of her and she is now hoping to add two-time Olympian to her name.

But first she has something else on her list: “I really want to go eat a big cheeseburger at McDonald’s and some ice cream.”

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