Every Olympic Games is cause for celebration. The energy that swirls around those two weeks of competition gets the whole world excited.
This year, we are proud to have the opportunity to sponsor a pair of athletes competing in the new Nacra 17 Mixed Crew event – Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke. The Vancouver natives have been sailing and competing since their youths, each with previous Olympic Games under their belts. The Rio Olympics will be the first time a man and a woman will share control of a boat in an Olympic event. The Nacra 17 is a catamaran that moves with such speed, it appears to fly across the water.
We spoke with Luke about their journey, training, and, of course, the Olympics. Read all about it below:
What moves you forward?
Right now, every day we are driven by winning a medal at the Olympic Games, and making our country proud. It has been a long journey – I have been on the National Team for 10 years, and Nikola and I have been competing together as a team for the last 4 years. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is driving us hard.
We both grew up in Vancouver playing lots of sports but we are driven to the water. For me it was the freedom of being able to sail by myself on the ocean. This allowed me to put in the hours of training, often alone, in the cold waters of Vancouver, which took me the National Team Level. Once moving to the Olympic stage, I have been captured by every aspect of the sport, from the physicality, the speed, tactics, the technical side, teamwork, and being immersed in the elements. It is a very dynamic sport, which I will always love.
What compelled you to begin this journey to the Olympics?
The Olympics has always been a dream of mine, and only through the hard work leading up to 2012 did it become a reality. Both Nikola and I left London with unfinished business, having walked away without a medal. We decided to team up in a brand new discipline with the goal of doing it properly this time.
How has your previous involvement in the Olympics prepared you for Rio 2016?
The Olympics is unlike any other sporting event on the planet. While we work for years out of the spotlight, all of a sudden the world turns their eyes to these athletes. There is a huge amount of pressure, and we have not only done lots of work on the technical and physical aspects of the sport but also on the mental side. We are working with a sports psychologist on mastering our decision making and our mental toughness for when the pressure is on and we need to perform.
What does your training schedule look like leading up to the Olympics, and how has it affected your non-Olympics life?
We are really busy for the 80 days leading up to the Games. Most of our time is spent down in the Olympic Venue training in the same waters and experiencing similar conditions we will have come August.
Right now the idea of a “Non-Olympic life” is a long way away, everything I am doing is committed to this journey. It is hard missing things like birthdays, weddings, and my niece growing up. As hard as it is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Few people get the opportunity to live their dream. I am just happy that I have this chance.
We wish Luke and Nicola all the very best in Rio, and we look forward to cheering on Canada across the Olympic events. Don’t miss the opening ceremony on August 5th!