Xu Lijia arrived in Hyeres, France, one week before the World Cup in April, 2012. She had started sailing again after two-and-a-half months away from the water. However, Xu’s recovering hand just couldn’t do it – whenever a movement involved changing hands, she had to wait for her left hand to respond slowly. To make matters worse, the weather was extremely cold that year.
Xu Lijia couldn’t allow herself to go into the Games with any regret. “I am the new Lily, full of good habits. I am going to do my best and really enjoy this event. Every day, and in every way, I am getting better and better. Do little things right and the end results will take care of themselves”, Xu wrote in her diary.
Jon joined the Israeli coach boat and helped Xu for two races. Much to everyone’s surprise, Xu Lijia finished her first regatta after the hand operation with a series win. During the Medal Race, her boom hit the water while rounding the bottom mark and she couldn’t stop the boat from capsizing.
Afterwards, Jon rushed to see his dad one last time. Jon’s father was afflicted with motor neuron disease, rendering him practically speechless. Earlier Jon had mentioned Xu’s name to his father a few times and all his family knew he was coaching the Chinese team. One of Jon’s last sentences to his father was: “I love you very much, but I just have to go and help the little Chinese girl now.” Jon just wished his dad could have lived to see Xu Lijia’s gold medal.
Stay tuned for Sailing Hero In Her Voice Chapter 15, part two on January 17th, on ShanghaiEye.