AEZ & Olympic Games – pure emotion!
London 2012 was an incredible experience, exceeding my expectations by far. Everything around the Games was gigantic and sensational at the same time. The motivation I have taken home from my Olympic premiere is definitely enormous. A big thank-you to everyone who has followed me on my way to Weymouth and has been there throughout the Olympic Games – I received a warm welcome and tremendous support from my fellow sailors and the entire team. Having learned the hard way, I am convinced that this was a worthwhile and important investment in the future, in this case for Rio 2016.
Learning the hard way
Looking at it from a sporting perspective, it was very clear from the start that we would have no influence on the medal decisions. The successful qualification was a sensation in itself but we still wanted to present ourselves as best as possible, ruffle the feathers of the stars and succeed at some of the stages. Looking back, I am as always not quite happy. Having worked hard for some opportunities, we did too little to turn our chances into success. Lack of experience taught us the hard way in many situations – sometimes we wanted too much, sometimes we just needed a little bit of more luck. For example the light wind sailing competition, where we had an impressive lead but which had to be abandoned prematurely due to a wind shift. Without a doubt, the jury's decision was correct but the race would have continued if the quirks of nature would have been less intense by just a few grades. What remains is a ranking in tenth position as best individual result as well as one ranking in 13th and three rankings in 15th position, all of which are still positive results. The new Olympic champions are from New Zealand, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won gold. The British athletes Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark achieved silver, and the winners of the bronze medal are Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NL). They all did an incredible job and congratulations are in order.
The so-called Nothe Course offered sailing with an extra portion of goosebumps. The buoys on this route are just below land level – there were a total of five courses for the sailing competitions whereby the individual categories were rotated on a daily basis. Providing an amazing atmosphere, up to 10.000 spectators went on a pilgrimage to the greens every day. Their applause was transmitted into the individual cockpits. The wave of enthusiasm was second to none and an incredible, inspiring experience for us sailors. The British deserve top grades for being a fantastic and extremely fair sporting audience. Being highly professional, extremely helpful and exceptionally polite, the event organisers should also be given top marks. Whether in the Olympic Village, which was just a stone's throw away from the sailing centre, at the security gates or at the waterside, the many volunteers did a brilliant job and, thanks to their genuine friendliness, conquered everyone's heart by storm. The organisation of the event was just as sensational. Every need and every wish was fulfilled and the feel-good factor was extremely high. Apropos goosebumps, what I also will never forget are the impressions of the amazing opening ceremony and the party atmosphere at the closing ceremony at the Olympic stadium in London. You know why and what you have been working for so hard when you walk into an arena to the frenetic cheers of 80.000 people. This feeling will stay with me for the rest of my journey. There is no better motivation than thinking back to the days in Weymouth and London, especially at times during training when I have to push my own boundaries.
Next on my agenda are the A-Levels. Being very grateful that I am able to catch up with them now, I am working towards positive results for the exams in September. I can then literally set the sails for the future. I would like to return onto the water as quickly as possible, I will work hard and I will aim with different perspectives for new goals in Rio. Qualifying shall not be my main ambition for 2016 since just taking part is simply not good enough anymore. I know that I have the abilities and necessary ambition to turn my success at the Youth Olympic Games (Singapore/2010) into a triumph at the ''Big'' Games. This is my professed goal and I will do everything to succeed.
Thanks everybody and hopefully see you all soon,
Your Lara Vadlau