Alessandra soon became the top female windsurfer in Italy and in 1987 she joined the world's best youth sailors at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Botany Bay, Australia. Alessandra took home the bronze, the first ever medal to be claimed by an Italian female sailor at the Championship. The stage was set for a glittering windsurfing career and the young Alessandra had her sights firmly set on the Olympic Games. In 1992, she went to Barcelona and sailing a Lechner A-390 finished a credible seventh at her first Olympic Sailing Competition.
Alessandra celebrates her third
|Alessandra in action in Athens
© Adrian Dennis
The women's Mistral competition was a sizzling affair in Sydney in 2000 and Alessandra went into the final race knowing that if she wanted gold she had to win. The race became a tactical battle with Amelie LUX (GER), and it was Alessandra who came out on top, winning the race and the gold medal.
Four years later in Athens, she was back for her fourth Olympic Sailing Competition and another podium finish. A nail biting final race on the Saronic Gulf eventually saw Alessandra win her second bronze medal and claim two sailing records. She is one of only three women to ever win three medals in sailing and is the most successful Italian Olympic sailor.
Alessendra's achievements are not limited to the Olympic Games; she has won the Mistral World Championship twice, in 2000 and 2004, finishing on the podium in 2002 and 1997 and she did not finish off the podium at the Mistral European Championships between 1997 and 2003, winning the event in 1997, 2001 and 2002.
Gold medal success in Sydney was enough to give Alessandra her first ISAF World Sailor of the Year nomination. Her second nomination came in 2002 after a steady season culminated in victory at the ISAF World Sailing Games in Marseille, France, where Alessandra blitzed the competition winning every race in the nine race series to take the gold in emphatic style.
In 2004 Alessandra was appointed to the ISAF Windsurfing Committee, and most recently has been commentating for Italian television on the America's Cup and other sailing events.
Speaking on her forthcoming responsibility, Alessandra commented, 'I am really looking forward to undertaking this role and playing my part in honouring these outstanding sailors. As a past nominee, I know what it means to be on the voting list - and for the winners it will be a day they will long remember.'
The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are presented annually to recognize the outstanding sailing achievements of male and female sailors, as nominated and voted by the world of sailing. 2005 marks the twelfth presentation of the Awards.
1994 Gary JOBSON (USA) and Bruno TROUBLÉ (FRA)
1995 Gary JOBSON (USA) and Teresa ZABELL (ESP)
1996 Sir Peter BLAKE (NZL) and Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR)
1997 Hans WALLEN (SWE) and Dawn RILEY (USA)
1998 Begonia VIA DUFRESNE (ESP) and Bob FISHER (GBR)
1999 John FORBES (AUS) and Sarah ROBERTS-THOMPSON (AUS)
2000 Ian WALKER (GBR)
2001 Mateusz KUSNIEREWICZ (POL)
2002 Nikos KAKLAMANAKIS (GRE)
2003 Paul CAYARD (USA)
2004 Jesper BANK (DEN)
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