When you're going for the gold--literally--you have to be willing to take risks. You have to be willing to put it all on the line, to go balls-to-the-wall, to give it everything you've got.
In the qualifying runs yesterday Dani [Daniele Molmenti] ranked 3rd overall. So when it came to the semifinals today, he knew that if he wanted to medal he had to give it all he had. And he qualified for the finals! But he received a 2-second penalty for (barely) touching one of the gates, so instead of having the third-fastest time in the semi-finals, he went into the finals ranked eighth.
The times from the semi-finals and the finals are combined for the overall time; so his 2-second penalty in the semis meant that he had to make up for it in his final race. And he went balls-to-the-wall for sure! The online commentator said "Molmenti is a human rocket!" His split time was faster than the fastest person at the time (Benjamin BOUKPETI from Togo, who received the Bronze). Jason and I were watching online and our hearts were beating so fast that it almost hurt!
And then, suddenly, his kayak hit "
The look on his face was pure shock--"What the hell just happened? How did that just happen?" He finished the course slowly, the shock sinking in.
Maybe he could have taken less chances; if he had gone a little slower he might have made the gate. But that wouldn't have been Daniele. He calls his kayak The Bull and he rides it full-out. He wasn't there to play it safe; he was there to go for it.
In typical Daniele style he's bounced right back. In an e-mail he wrote to us this morning he said that he's fought so hard for a medal but it's not yet time for him to have it; he hopes we felt good and were excited to see him race [DUH!]. :) He said that his sport is like life, good times and bad times; "it's important to stand up when you hit the ground, and you know I always stand up!"
Dani, I am so proud of you for going full-tilt. I am so, so proud of you that I can hardly stand it. I am inspired by you to live a life more full-tilt than I have been. And I promise we will be there for London 2012. :) Tanti baci & abbracci, carissimo mio! Have fun in China and we will see you soon! We love you!