Ruffini explained his strategy, “I made my race in the last 1 km because I swam very poorly in the first 10 km as I was fighting stomach problems. I started to feel better around the 17.5 km mark and decided that I could attempt a breakaway. I saw the American (Alex Meyer) and the French (Axel Reymond) swimming together and decided to join them. I played for gold with Alex Meyer.
In the last 50m, I felt very fresh and I was determined to arrive first. I’m happy for the gold medal and even happier that the answer to my marriage proposal to Aurora (Ponsele) was a sign of love from her. This was the best moment of my life. Of course, I am looking forward to the Olympic Games, but today I understand the meaning of my life.”
Alex Meyer, who finished only 4.4 seconds behind Ruffini in the 4 hour 53 second race, was satisfied with his effort. “I’m happy with my finish and proud to get a medal for the USA and to contribute to the team trophy which we also won today. I’m also very happy for Simone for proposing to his new fiancée. Perhaps if I had won today, he might not have proposed to her, I’m not sure. He and I worked together on the last lap which was very sportsmanlike and professional.
The ups and downs of this race are always a profound experience for me. Today I felt good, then I felt bad. I also felt everything in between and I was going through about all kinds of stuff during the race. I tried to conserve energy and I tried to keep my mind together. The mental battle is half of the effort.
There were some kinks in the plan and times when I had some distress and I felt under pressure. I got pretty far back there at one point, but once I got back up in the lead I was feeling better. There was some great teamwork with me and Ruffini and together we pulled away, guaranteeing a medal for each of us. Obviously I would have liked to pass him on the last lap but I laid it all out.
I was honestly surprised at our lead over the others. I really thought that everyone was much closer, but it was the only Italian and he wasn’t close enough to catch us.”
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