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Sofia BEKATOROU & Emilia TSOULFA (GRE)

Sofia BEKATOROU & Emilia TSOULFA (GRE)Sofia and Emilia captured the hearts of their nation in August when they won the gold medal in the women's double-handed dinghy event in the 470 at the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition, and did so in impressive style.

After a severe injury scare at the 470 World Championship in June this year, the pair's attendance at the Olympic Games hung in the balance. Sofia underwent surgery on her back and the team threw themselves back into training. They went on to win their Olympic event with a race to spare and didn't give anyone else a look in. Five race wins and a 24 point lead over the second placed team is indicative of their dominance of the class.

Prior to the Olympics Games, the pair also enjoyed a gold medal at the 2003 ISAF World Championship in September 2003, which was followed in 2004 by wins at the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp Week and XXXV Princess Sofia Trophy.

ISAF World Sailing Ranking at the end of the nomination period (3 August 2004) - 14 Current ISAF World Sailing Ranking (2 September 2004) - 11


1st - Olympic Sailing Competition, Grade W - August 2004
26th - 470 World Championship, Grade W - June 2004 (retired due to injury)
11th - Semaine Olympique Française, Grade 1 - April 2004
1st - XXXV Princess Sofia Trophy, Grade 2 - April 2004
1st - Athens Eurolymp Week, Grade 2 - February 2004
1st - ISAF World Championship, Grade W - September 2003

Name Sofia BEKATOROU Emilia TSOULFA
Date of Birth 28485 26799
Place of Birth Athens, Greece Athens, Greece
Profession Student Professor of Sports Education
Age started sailing 8 12
First boat sailed Optimist Optimist
Age started racing 9 13
First boat raced Optimist Optimist
What inspired you to take up sailing? My father's encouragement and curiosity My family
How did you buy your first boat? I don't own a boat From my sailing club
Which was your first sailing club? Nautical Club of Tzitzifies, Kallithea, Greece Sailing Club of Pireaus, Greece
First Event competed in and Year Local Optimist races in 1986 Optimist National Championship, 1986
First Event won and Year Local Optimist Races in 1987 420 National Championship, 1988
Principle achievements Olympic gold medallist 2004 1988,1989, 1990 - 420 Greek National Champion
Principle achievements 4 times 470 World Champion 2000-2003 Greek National Champion in the 470 eight times since 1994
Principle achievements 3 times 470 European Champion 2000-2002
Principle achievements ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2002
Principle achievements 3rd ISAF World Championship 1998
Principle achievements 3rd 1998 European Championship
Principle achievements 8 times 470 Greek National Champion
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Sailing for eight years in this wonderful fleet making strong friendships, being a world champion several times, winning the award of Sailor of the Year in 2002, getting injured and feeling, the support of the 470 class and finally the honour to participate in my country in the Olympic Games after a back surgery, the love and support of my family, my team and all the people, the prize giving, the crowd singing the National anthem and finally the honour to extinguish the Olympic Flame in the Olympic stadium. 1998 - 3rd 470 - ISAF World Sailing Games
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Sailing for eight years in this wonderful fleet making strong friendships, being a world champion several times, winning the award of Sailor of the Year in 2002, getting injured and feeling, the support of the 470 class and finally the honour to participate in my country in the Olympic Games after a back surgery, the love and support of my family, my team and all the people, the prize giving, the crowd singing the National anthem and finally the honour to extinguish the Olympic Flame in the Olympic stadium. 1998 - 3rd 470 European Championship
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Sailing for eight years in this wonderful fleet making strong friendships, being a world champion several times, winning the award of Sailor of the Year in 2002, getting injured and feeling, the support of the 470 class and finally the honour to participate in my country in the Olympic Games after a back surgery, the love and support of my family, my team and all the people, the prize giving, the crowd singing the National anthem and finally the honour to extinguish the Olympic Flame in the Olympic stadium. 2000, 2001, 2002 - 470 European Champion
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Sailing for eight years in this wonderful fleet making strong friendships, being a world champion several times, winning the award of Sailor of the Year in 2002, getting injured and feeling, the support of the 470 class and finally the honour to participate in my country in the Olympic Games after a back surgery, the love and support of my family, my team and all the people, the prize giving, the crowd singing the National anthem and finally the honour to extinguish the Olympic Flame in the Olympic stadium. 2001, 2001, 2002, 2003 - 470 World Champion
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Sailing for eight years in this wonderful fleet making strong friendships, being a world champion several times, winning the award of Sailor of the Year in 2002, getting injured and feeling, the support of the 470 class and finally the honour to participate in my country in the Olympic Games after a back surgery, the love and support of my family, my team and all the people, the prize giving, the crowd singing the National anthem and finally the honour to extinguish the Olympic Flame in the Olympic stadium. 2004 - 470 - Olympic Gold Medallis
What are your future sailing aspirations? Being healthy, participating in the America's Cup and making a new Olympic campaign. More achievements
Briefly state what sailing means to you Sailing is the inspiration in everything I do. It's like the oxygen in my life, it's a way of thinking to make people around you happy and being fulfilled at the same time. It's a way of life. Sailing helps me to have the character to face up to life and be strong to all situations. It's a way of thinking and controlling your life.
Who has had the greatest impact or inspiration in your sailing career and why? Until now it has been Theresa ZABELL for her great performance, but getting to know more sailors I strongly believe that you can be inspired by many people for different reasons. My family who first gave me the opportunity to learn sailing. Especially my brother, Theodore, who is a great sailor and always advises me.
Who do you consider to be your sailing hero? All those that have made sailing their way of life and never stop trying to improve themselves. I couldn't name one. I respect and admire people who work hard to reach their goal.
What other sports do you participate in outside of sailing? All kind of water sports, running, cycling and ski-ing. I've tried cross-country ski-ing and I really enjoyed it.
Who do you consider to be the greatest sailor in the World and why? There are some people that are generally genius in sailing so I can't say one specifically. I would say John MERRICKS who I never forget.
Briefly state what being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award 2004 means to you It's a recognition of our way in the sailing life. It's a way to verify that we have overcome ourselves and gives us a new motive to try to keep on looking always in a positive way to the difficulties. It's a way that we can promote sailing in the youth and to show that always when you try you have chances to win. It's a great honour. It means that you have tried hard to achieve your goal, you have pushed yourself to the limits and finally all the sailing world recognises it.
If voted as the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2004, briefly say what will this mean to you? Being nominated brings me the same emotions and thoughts as winning. Because all you need sometimes is to try and let the time show the way to you. This will be our second Rolex Awards, which is something really in our dreams! It will be a great recognition for our Olympic Gold Medal in Athens that everyone knows how hard we trained after Sofia's operation. It's a message for us and for everyone that if someone has a goal and works hard for it, nothing can stop him! Everything is in our mind!
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