Nikola Girke: It takes guts to dream

Published on January 30th, 2014

Canadian Nikola Girke has competed in the last three Olympic Games in the doublehanded dinghy and boardsailing events, and is hoping to make the 2016 Olympics in the new mixed multihull event with Luke Ramsay. Here Nikola describes the journey…

I don’t remember when I wanted to become an Olympian. I don’t know if it was a burning dream from when I was a kid. I started sailing when I was 8 or 9 years old, and I just loved it. When you love something, you want to do it all the time. By doing it all the time, you are learning and improving. At some point along the way I said, ‘Yes, I want to go to the Olympics.’

But there’s plenty of sacrifices to be an Olympian. Most people think it’s a plush life, that you go away to all these beautiful venues around the world, and you’re kind of on holiday. But it’s a lot of hard work. It comes with the territory; that’s the job. And you miss a lot of things. That’s the hardest part. You’re away from home so much. You live this unconventional lifestyle, while all your friends are moving on with their careers, with their relationships. They get to go to birthdays and family celebrations and weddings, and I have missed so much of that over the years. That’s kind of really hard.

But it’s an attitude thing. There are so many sacrifices, but you can look at it differently, and recognize that ‘I’m living a pretty good life’. To be doing what you love to do, and getting to give talks and presentations, and instilling hope and inspiration to others, it is such a wonderful thing about what we get to do.

You have a dream. First of all, it takes guts to dream something. A lot of times it’s the success that people are scared of; it’s not the failure. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. You got to just go for it.

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