Olympics Morning Launch, Day 10 — Keeping Their Cool

Olympic sailors share their tips for staying focused during postponement.

Anne-Marie Rindom Denmark Sailing Rio Olympics

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom waits during a wind delay that eventually postponed the Laser Radial medal race for a day. She went on to win a bronze medal in the class.Sailing Energy/World Sailing

The athletes in Rio arrive to the Marina Da Gloria between 10 and 11 am, go through the security check-point and head down to the boat park. With racing scheduled to start no earlier than 1 pm local time, it gives them just enough time to get into the competitive mindset, repair any equipment and have a meeting with their coaching staff before they head out to the racecourse.

Rio, sometimes, has other plans. Many race days have light and hot — normal for Rio in August, but not ideal for wind-powered sports. The sea breeze generally fills in around 1 or 2 pm, or sometimes later, meaning the athletes are regularly postponed either on land or water for an hour or more before racing begins. Even when it does, there have been a handful of abandoned races that throw off the schedule of routine for the Olympians.

It’s important these athletes know how to play the waiting game. They could be delayed for any amount of time, or be called to compete at any time, so they have to keep their minds sharp without exhausting themselves. Top athletes from around the world shared their perspectives on staying mentally sharp when the conditions are dull.

Olympic Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Romuald Hausser, 470, Switzerland. "We try to stay in the shade, to not use our energy and to eat. We wait quietly and relax so that we are ready as soon as the postponement is lifted. We are quite experienced with this, so we are able to get back into racing mode."Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Olympic Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Paige Railey, Radial, USA. "I focus on the conditions, the wind, the waves, follow what the race committee is doing. That way, when it's time to hit the button I'm ready to go."Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Olympic Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Graeme Saunders, 470, Canada. "On the water, we like to keep the mainsail up to get some shade in venues like Rio. We chat with the coach and cruise around in the boat. I try and switch off while I wait to give my mind a break. Once the breeze fills in, I switch back on. When we're postponed on land, a deck of cards is always nice to have. Yesterday we played hangman in the American container with some nice air conditioning."Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Olympic Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Sophie Ainsworth, 49er FX, Great Britain. "When we're waiting, we try to keep it light. We'll have a bit of a chat or talk to our coaches and just relax a little more before we have to start working."Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Olympic Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Paris Henken, 49er FX, USA. "We sat in the lounge and watched the other sports on TV before we went out. This is how it is in our sport, so we're used to this."Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Denmark Olympic Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Anne-Marie Rindom, Radial, Denmark. "The other day, when the waves were big outside and we were just waiting around, I actually started to feel quite sick. So, I made sure to eat something even though I didn't feel like it, that way I could keep my energy up and not focus on being sick."Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Canada Olympics Sailing Regatta

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Erin Rafuse, 49er FX, Canada. "We eat lunch, watch sports on tv and stay in the shade on shore. On-water we stay hydrated and chat with other teams sometimes. We are always on the edge of being ready to go. On the water, every time the wind changes, you go for an upwind to get a reading and try and stay focused. "Sailing Energy/World Sailing
Olympic Sailing Rio New Zealand

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition

Alexandra Maloney, 49er FX, New Zealand. "Everyone has their rituals when it comes to on-land delays. We'll read or color or do something to keep our minds busy while we wait. We don't focus on the sailing because there's plenty of time between when the delta goes up and racing starts to get our frame of mind back."Sailing Energy/World Sailing