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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
Hans Spitzauer has been in driverís seats of all types. For years he was a single-handed sailor and campaigned a Finn. During the early to mid-1990ís he duked it out with some of the recent Star World Champions such as Freddy Loof and Xavier Rohart. Spitzauer won the Finn Gold Cup in 1996, while Loof laid claim to it in 1994, 1997, 1999. Later that decade Loof and Rohart remained at the top of the charts and Mateusz Kusnierewicz joined them. Kusnierewicz took the Gold Cup in 1998 and 2000. Some of the familiar Star crew names of this quadrennium such as Dominik Zycki, Bruno Prada and Andrew Simpson were also very competitive Finn sailors. Following his Gold Cup win, Spitzauer just missed medaling at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in the Finn.
|Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick. |
Spitzauer continued sailing the Finn for awhile, but took the helm of a Soling for a good portion of the next quadrennium. His bid to go to the Games in 2000 was cut short when he lost the Soling Trials. Spitzauer moved into the Star in 2001 and qualified for the 2004 Olympics in Athens where he and Andreas Hanakamp witnessed Star World Champions Torben Grael, Marcello Ferreira, Ross MacDonald, Mike Wolfs, Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau podium in one of the most hotly contested sailing events of the Games. Torben Grael copped his 5th Olympic Medal during the 2004 Games.
Disappointed in his 2004 Olympic performance, Spitzauer, a team building consultant and an ocean racer, decided to give it another go. He started to sail with Hubert Rauaschl, a ten time Olympic Nordic skier. Raudaschl was somewhat familiar with sailing and knew what it took to be a top athlete. Raudaschl gave sailing a try, but perpetual training and campaigning had lost some of its allure for Raudaschl. Spitzauer then called on Christian Nehammer, a formidable helmsman and crew, to join him in a Star campaign starting in Miami in 2006. The pair has posted a string of nice finishes over the past two years including last yearís Kiel Week. Their biggest disappointment of the year was a 24th place finish at the 2004 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais.
After not making the Olympic cut in Cascais in 2007, Spitzhauer and Nehammer made sailing their full time jobs. They have been in Miami since late December, with the exception of a little vacation back home in early February. Their 5th place finish in the 2008 Bacardi Cup was an encouraging sign that their hard work may pay off at the 2008 Star World Championships.
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