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Under wonderful circumstances Marit Bouwmeester en Dorian van Rijsselberghe won their Gold medals in Rio at the Olympics. Dorian had a bit of a slow start with the first two races but woke up and dominated the fleet winning 7 races and the medal race convincingly. Marit sailed within the front of the fleet of most races, won the fifth and sailed a nail biting medal race to secure Gold. Four years of intense preparation were rewarded.

What makes it even more interesting to me is that there were no two campaigns as different as these two. Dorian always relaxed, advocating how important it is to have fun and sharing that he couldn’t do more than his best. Marit, in contrast, trained every minute that was available, shared pictures of her workouts in the gym and was fully focussed on winning: only gold was what she was fighting for. In my upcoming book I’ll share my ideas and what we can learn from this.

For now congratulations to both of them! And their coaches and the Royal Dutch Water Sports Association that had the vision to fund these campaigns. The association showed leadership in designing made to measure programs for all teams. They recognized that the DNA (or soul if you want) of the sailors and their approach is different. To be successful you need to understand what makes the sailors and their coaches tick and design accordingly.

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