LONDON - The two words "last hope" have a certain weight. The natural connotation is one of grave responsibility, a moment of truth and a feeling of trying to avert disaster. Disaster won't strike if Lee Korzits misses out on a medal today, but it would definitely be a great disappointment for the Israeli delegation if the windsurfer who holds second place finishes empty-handed.With no medals to its credit, Israel's appearance in London 2012 would be classified as a failure.
Still, the medal is hers to lose. She faces stiff competition, tied on points with third-place Tuuli Petaja of Finland and one ahead of German Moana Delle. Her chances of catching first-placed Spaniard Marina Alabau Neira are slim.
The weather forecast calls for moderate winds. The Korzits team is hoping the winds will strengthen before starting time. "We'll get the most up-to-date forecast around 8 A.M.," said Gur Steinberg, who was in charge of Olympic preparations for the Israeli sailors. "I think she'll be ready mentally."
Korzits is not the first to be dubbed Israel's last hope. Kayaker Michael Kalganov won Israel's only medal of the 2000 Sydney Games at the last moment, as did windsurfer Shahar Zubari at the 2008 Beijing Games. "No one pressured me, and no one told me anything special," recalled Zubari. "I believe it will be the same with Lee."
Zubari said that before his medal race, he spent time with only people he knew. "It's very hard to be in Lee's place," he added. "She can win a medal or finish with nothing. She's tough and is the world champion. She knows the competition."
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