“The hardest thing about being an athlete is the self scrutiny. No matter what, you are always looking to improve, always trying to be better. Nothing is ever good enough.”

One is already an Olympic champion. The other has been dreaming of winning an Olympic gold since she could walk. Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre have only been sailing together since 2017, but they’ve forged an incredible partnership that has seen them take the sailing world by storm.

And now it’s 2020. Could this be the year that Mills becomes the most decorated female sailor in the World? Could this be the year that McIntyre hangs her own Olympic Gold medal next to her father’s on the wall?

There’s no doubt that they are deserving.

Sailing for the British Team is much more than a full time job and both Mills and McIntyre have been pushing hard for well over ten years to get to where they are now.

“Along with all the logistics and boat management, we also do between 8-10 gym sessions a week. Day to day is pretty intense. We wake up in the morning, hit the gym, and then we’ll brief and rig the boats. Then we’ll go for a three hour sail and we make the most of every minute on the water. After that we de-rig, debrief and then fit in another gym session before it all starts again the next day.”

McIntyre has been dreaming of winning an Olympic gold medal since she was a little girl.

“My biggest inspiration is my Dad who won an Olympic Gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in the Star class. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

After winning silver at London 2012 and gold at Rio 2016, Mills’ former sailing partner Saskia Clark retired and Mills contemplated hanging up her neoprene too. But it was a call from her former rival McIntyre that kept her Olympic drive alive.

“We were big rivals for the Rio 2016 Olympic campaign. Then when my former partner Saskia retired, Eilidh called me six months later and asked me to sail with her for the Tokyo 2020 campaign. I definitely kept her waiting and she panicked a bit down the phone bless her!”

Mills eventually agreed to sail with McIntyre and the rest is history. The question is will they make history this August and become the story that inspires future generations of sailors to dream big?

“The one piece of advice I’d give is never stop learning. Never think you know everything because that’s impossible when it comes to sailing. Never close your mind off to new ideas. Sailing is such a unique sport in that way. You can always develop and always get better.”


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