Marit Bouwmeester upgrades her silver medal from London 2012 to a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics!
– Interview by Heather Jones
Congratulations on your success at Rio. How are you feeling post Olympics?
It’s a great feeling to achieve what I always wanted. It has been an incredible journey with my coach Jaap Zielhuis and my brother/training partner Roelof Bouwmeester on my side. Its an honour to win a gold sailing medal for the Netherlands since the last one was 80 years ago and also to be the first female sailor to win the gold.
It doesn’t change that much, in the perspective that I still go on the water and enjoy sailing and go to the gym to enjoy my physical training. I love what I do and that’s why I will continue towards Tokyo.
How tough was it out there on the water?
With all the different race courses, the continuous changing tide in the bay and the surrounding flat water versus the waves outside the bay, made it very challenging to sail. Every day was a different day and that kept the place very exciting. Being the Olympics, the racing was very intense. But it’s great to be able to compete at the top of the fleet.
What gave you the winning edge?
I spent a lot of time in Rio which made me as confident as I could be in that venue. I’m an all round sailor, so I was happy with whatever the day would bring.
Are there any areas that you still feel you need to improve in a Laser?
As in life, you always keep learning.
Why choose the Laser to compete in?
Its great to sail a one-design, it really comes down to who sails the boat the quickest and smartest. I also love to sail by myself.
How was Rio as a venue?
I think the Brazilians did a good job in organising the event. I enjoyed being there.
Were you concerned about the water quality?
No, I spent a year in Rio in total; I was not concerned by the water quality nor did I ever get sick by the water.
Was there a good sense of camaraderie?
Being the Olympics I reckon the sailors are a little tenser, but that makes the racing even more interesting.
Did you get a big welcome back upon your return to The Netherlands?
It was great coming back to my home country. The medal race had a viewing rate of 1.3 million people which is extraordinary for sailing in the Netherlands. I hope I was able to inspire lots of kids to join this great sport.
Do you think your Olympic success could lead to other paths?
Time will tell.
Will your success help with future sponsorship?
I hope so. It’s very recent, so I will see what time will bring.
Have you had much time to relax since your return?
It’s only 3 weeks ago, so things have been a bit hectic. But I did manage to get some time with friends and family, which is great.
Will you compete in the 2020 Olympics?
Yes I will continue for Japan, most likely in the Laser.
What are your plans for the long term future and your career?
For the short term future my brother and I are trying to get kids excited for sailing sports, that’s why we share all our knowledge on www.sportvid.com/Marit. A complete video instruction box from buying the Laser, to finishing a race will be available from next week onwards. As a nutritionist and personal trainer, I see myself training other people in the long term future.
Where do you keep your medal?
I’m not sure where I will keep it yet, but for sure I will find a nice place for it.
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