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A special delivery for Argentina

Buenos Aires 2018
10 Oct 2018
Olympic News, Buenos Aires 2018, YOG, Argentina, Rowing
Proud mother watches rower Maria Sol Ordas claim the first home gold medal of Buenos Aires 2018, 18 years after missing out on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games because she was pregnant with her.

Dolores Amaya had qualified for the single sculls event at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games when she found out she was pregnant and that the baby would be due in the middle of the competition. Eighteen years later, the story came full circle as Maria Sol Ordas, Amaya’s daughter, claimed Argentina’s first gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games, in the junior women’s single sculls at Puerto Madero on Wednesday.

Amaya, who competed at Atlanta 1996 at age of 16, took time out of the sport as she raised her daughter, though the father, Damian Ordas, went to Sydney 2000 to compete in the men’s pair. Amaya said: “(The pregnancy) was a surprise, but otherwise we would not have a gold medal here. She was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Having a child is better than attending the Games. It is amazing for me that Sol has reached such a fantastic level. I can definitely see her qualifying to the Olympics in the future and I believe she will go very far. As a mother, my role is to support her on everything, letting have her own space, and pacing her down a bit. We cannot hurry up, as much as she would like to. She needs to enjoy what she does.”

As the home favourite and supported by raucous fans, Ordas began the day with a confident victory in the semifinals, but struggled in the gold medal race. Elin Lindroth (SWE) set the pace from the start, and it was only in the final 100 metres that Ordas took the lead. As soon as she crossed the line, she raised her hands and burst into tears.

“It was hard to believe. I had absolutely no confidence that I could win in such a different distance (the race was 500m, instead of the traditional 2000m),” Ordas said. “I was only sure that I won when I heard the speaker. I thought we might have had a photo finish and I would end up with the silver, but I wouldn’t like to leave here without the gold medal.”

Buenos Aires 2018

Despite her family background, Ordas did not take up rowing until she was 13. It did not take her long to fall in love with the sport - she even has a tattoo of a single scull on her right calf. Surprisingly, she says she is reluctant to talk about rowing with her parents. “We don’t discuss it all that much. My mother definitely understands me, she gives me some space and this makes everything much easier. I think our personality is quite the same: sometimes we can be very hard to deal with. If I have a regatta to race I will not be most friendly person to be around. I like to be on my own.”  

Buenos Aires 2018

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