There are two things Santiago Lange cannot live without: water and the Olympic Games.
The Argentinian sailor will seek in less than three years, in Paris 2024, his fourth medal in what will be his eighth Games. He already has two bronzes and a gold, and after hesitating for a few weeks after being seventh in Tokyo 2020, he made the decision to compete again in the Nacra 17 class, albeit with a different partner.
“I realized that doing this, racing regattas, I love it; I still enjoy it very much. So why give it up? A new challenge begins, which I know is very complicated but also beautiful,” said Lange, who is a naval architect by profession and first competed in a Games at Seoul 88.
Victoria Travascio will be his teammate, replacing Cecilia Carranza, with whom he was gold at Rio 2016 and seventh at Tokyo 2020.
“It was a long process of evaluation,” Lange admitted. “I learned a lot from the Tokyo result, and I also know that in all the years we shared, with Ceci Carranza we achieved an impressive level of excellence. With that very clear, ahead are things to write, knowing that the road to achieve a medal is difficult.”
Travascio, born in 1988, the year of Lange’s Olympic debut, achieved along with Maria Sol Branz in the 49er FX the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto 2015 and bronze in Lima 2019. Her Olympic debut was in Rio 2016, where she was thirteenth. In Tokyo she obtained an important fifth place.
Lange usually says that what he enjoys most is the planning of the competition, to be years before studying the place where he will fight for the medals, its winds, its tides. He was unable to do so in Tokyo due to the pandemic, but Paris will give him revenge: the Argentine will spend long periods in Marseille, the sailing venue for the 2024 Games.
When Around the Rings asked Lange about his reasons for continuing to compete and spending so much time away from home, the answer gushed spontaneously and convincingly.
“Because the nice thing is not winning... Obviously it’s nice and special, but the nice thing is to transit, to prepare (...). It’s an ‘enjoy the ride’. I feel privileged to be at sea 300 days a year, to enjoy how a boat glides through the water”.
The “until when” is a question that, when posed to Lange, makes relative sense: “There is the paradigm that you are of an age and you have to stop, that you won gold and you have to stop, but I love this life, so why stop?”.