Vía-Dufresne: “In Athens we didn’t even have a physiotherapist, we were light years away from other sports”

The two-time Olympic medalist demands “more women with more dedication” and predicts at least three sailing medals in Paris 2024


The double Olympic sailing medalist Natalia Vía-Dufresne, silver in Barcelona’92 and Athens 2004, congratulates herself on the evolution of her sport since she took to the water. She recalled that 20 years ago at the Games she did not even have a physiotherapist and they were “light years” from other sports, and predicted at least three medals in Paris 2024.

“Sailing has been evolving and has become very professional since I started. At the Athens Games we didn’t even have a physiotherapist and we took advantage of the one the COE gave us. We were light years away from other sports, and today there are more taking into account the athletes,” he said at the presentation of the season in Madrid of the Dorsia Sailing Team.

Vía-Dufresne, 50, looked back when the sailors themselves had to transport their boats on trailers to compete in any corner of the country. “Now everything is different and athletes travel by plane. Paris 2024? I see three sure medals and some surprises. There is a lot of talent and a very good Olympic team,” she predicted.

The sailor from the Real Club Naútico de Alicante team led by Núria Sánchez Nomdedeu demanded more female presence in the regattas to reduce the gender gap. “There is a lack of more women who have more dedication and are at the level of men. In the Olympic classes there are not so many differences, but in cruising sailing the distance is very great,” she claimed.

Vía-Dufresne revealed that she was able to compete in the Barcelona ’92 Games “because they included a women’s class”, the Europa – which remained until Athens 2004 and was replaced by Laser Radial in Beijing 2008 -, in the Olympic program. “That was another step. When you leave the Olympic competitions for cruising sailing there is a tremendous gap. In the America’s Cup there are many women ‘behind the scenes’: mechanics, engineers…” she pointed out.

In this sense, the Dorsia Sailing Tema sailor believes that the key is in training. “We need resources to train sailors and hire coaches to raise the level one step higher. Sailing is a super complete sport that gives you a lot of life experience, and now I see more girls sailing than when I started,” the sailor congratulated herself. Barcelona.