Jaime de Lange just might make “naysh” a thing.
It rhymes with “place”, not with “nice”, and it’s short for “nation”. De Lange uses it often. “Just representing my naysh is a real honor,” he told SPIN Life, after he won the gold medal in men’s downhill skateboard last December 8 in Maragondon, Cavite.
It was another notch in a dominating SEA Games run from the PH’s skateboard crew. Delivering a 1-2 Pinoy finish with fellow longboarder Duke Pandeagua justified de Lange’s earlier, pre-game confidence.
“Yes, we knew we had a few advantages going in. There was certainly a high level of confidence, a winning attitude,” he admitted.
It helped, too, that the downhill longboarding team had one of the best looking uniforms in the entire Team Philippines.
“We did have some fire uniforms,” agreed de Lange, “and we were definitely the best looking and most intimidating pack on the starting line.”
A cool thing about their red-and-blue racing leathers was that when they were standing up, the blue was dominant. But when they were in ‘tuck’ position, carving down the course, red led — as if they were racing off to battle.
On race day, he and Pandeagua decided to play it safe and keep it tight as a unit. He said, “We were in a mindset that it's not about us as individuals, it's about the Philippines, and it doesn't matter who gets first as long as our country takes gold and silver.”
The tricky part, especially for him, was “finding the balance between going hard to win, but not going too hard as to crash in front of the pack for no reason.”
He saw it happen with his counterparts in the women’s downhill skating event, where teammates Abigail Viloria and Rydelle Abarico collided. “Seeing the girls take each other out was heartbreaking for the team and the whole country,” de Lange commented. Abarico would later finish with a bronze medal.
Now that the SEA Games are over, de Lange can breathe a little. He may have some big plans still lined up for his longboarding career moving into 2020, but for now, here’s a little chance to relax. “It was a pressure unlike anything I'd felt before. Iit was mostly "everyone's counting on you, don't mess it up.’”
“But thank God, we didn't,” he said.