A tearful Lee Korzits accepted her defeat on Tuesday afternoon in the crucial medal race of her RS:X windsurfing event, telling reporters that life would continue, even if she did deserve to stand on the podium.
Korzits’s ninth place finish Tuesday afternoon came as a surprise after she looked poised to take home Israel’s only medal at the 2012 Olympics. She finished sixth overall.
“It is not easy. But I was still proud to carry the flag,” she said.
The windsurfing world champion had been hoping for strong winds, because she feels she is at her most adept when the conditions are rough. “The weather conditions were bad for me and more beneficial for other surfers,” she said. “I’m very happy for them.”
While Korzits was speaking to reporters, gold medalist Marina Alabau came up and hugged her friend, bringing tears to her eyes.
“I’m happy about the win but something was missing. I think it’s not fair because she really deserved to have the medal,” Alabau said.
“It’s important to understand there is more to life than winning and I have good friends and I’m happy they won,” Korzits said.
Korzits represented Israel’s likely last medal hope after a disappointing Olympic Games has so far seen all competing Israelis fall short of the podium. Windsurfing, which has been an Israeli strong suit, was seen by many as the field most likely to produce a medal. In 2004, windsurfer Gal Freidman won the country’s only ever gold medal.
Korzits said she was still proud of what she had done despite not winning the medal.
“I’m a three time world champion. I’m proud to represent my country and I love it and I’m happy to be a good athlete,” she said. “I did my best and it was not enough. The biggest thing in my life is to go with my heart at moments like this. I hope I didn’t cause people to be too sad.”
She said she would continue to ride the waves.
“I’m not a broken person. I enjoy doing what I do,” she said. “The water is my home, so I’ll stay in the water. I will continue.”