Ramsay & Girke sailing solo at Toronto 2015
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - Kingston, ON
Some athletes will do whatever it takes to win an Olympic medal, even if that means switching gears a little - or a lot. Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke are excellent examples of dedication, perseverance and doing whatever it takes in order to achieve the Olympic dream. They are confident that it is only achieved one way – HARD WORK!
Luke Ramsay grew up in Vancouver, and began sailing at the age of 9. In his early sailing years he competed in the Laser class, enjoying success as an ISAF Youth World champion. While the single-handed class continued its growth spurt, Luke decided it was time to move on making a swift shift to the two-handed 470 class, sailing all the way to the 2012 Olympics with CST alumni Mike Leigh.
Girke, also a Vancouver native, had the opportunity to compete in a variety of different boats over the course of her sailing career being one of the few athletes to have competed in two different events at an Olympic Games. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Girke competed in the 470 class alongside alumni Jen Provan. Nikola switched gears completely following Athens qualifying in the RS:X windsurfer two consecutive Olympic Games, representing Canada in 2008 and the 2012 London Olympic Games most recently placing 10th overall.
Luke and Nikola informally discussed joining forces prior to the ISAF decision to remove windsurfing from the Olympic slate, (a decision that was ultimately overturned). Shortly thereafter, Ramsay and Girke made it official and signed on for the Road to Rio in the Nacra 17.
While the ‘One Team, One Dream’ pair continue their campaign for 2016, their desire to represent Canada on home soil inspired a push to qualify for Toronto 2015. Since the Nacra 17 is not a Pan Am class, Ramsay will sail a single-handed boat at Toronto 2015 – the Sunfish. Although he has a limited experience racing in the Sunfish, his versatility and natural sailing ability earned him top Canadian spot and third overall at the Pan Am trials.
Girke will also represent Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games, competing in her native class - the RS:X windsurfer. After a 3-year hiatus on the board, Nikola recently placed 15th of 40 boats at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. Regardless of the boat, the ultimate goal remains the same: “accomplishing Olympic success,” says Girke. “Winning that medal.” Both Luke and Nikola will swoop into Toronto immediately following the Nacra World Championships in Denmark.
Luke and Nikola are treating Toronto 2015 as preparation for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. “Having more Games experience is huge,” says Ramsay. “People say it is just another regatta, but it isn’t. The pressure from the media, fans, and other athletes is there. I love that!”
Girke, Ramsay, and other dedicated Canadian sailors will be competing in Toronto from July 12th to 19th. All sailing events are free to the public – no ticket required. Plus, on July 18th and 19th, all races can be viewed from Sugar Beach, one of Toronto’s most popular urban beaches, located on Dockside Drive. Team Canada will be fielding its strongest Pan Am sailing team since Winnipeg 1999.