At 24 years old, Anne-Marie Rindom has burst onto the Laser Radial scene with the focus and easy-going attitude of a years-more seasoned sailor. Now ranked second in the Laser Radial by World Sailing, Rindom is in the midst of team trials for Rio. She’s young and relatively new to the class, so the Danish Radial rock star has a fresh perspective to offer on the fleet just nine months out from the Games.
You’re in the middle of team trials for the Olympics. What do you have to accomplish to secure your place?
We have three regattas for our trials: Radial Worlds in Oman, Sailing World Cup Miami, and next year’s Worlds in Mexico. Oman was an excellent start for me because I won, and you have to have the most points to win the spot. My opponent, Sarah Gunni, was 26th, so the win in Oman gives me a bit more quiet room to train and focus on my performance. Next up is Miami. If we’re both in the top 20, but I beat her, I go to Rio. So, this could all be finished by Miami.
Sarah is a great training partner, so it’s also important for me to keep her close. My strength over her is that I’m able to sail in any conditions; I don’t have a favorite situation. I actually prefer when it’s a little bit of everything during a regatta and changes a lot. In Miami, it was the same every day, so I can do that, but I prefer when it changes every day. That’s why I like Rio so much.
Did you learn anything new at December’s Copa de Vela that you’ll be able to use at the Games?
It’s excellent to learn at the venue, both for technique and strategy. I like Rio because only the most all-around sailor is going to win the Olympics there. Outside, you have big waves and stable wind, but inside you have flat water and shifty wind with a lot of current. You have to know all of it to win.
I had the chance this week to get used to the current. We spent more time inside this event, so that was one of the things I hadn’t dealt with before. This time, I learned a lot about the current and how it moves, and where it shifts. When sailing inside, that was the most important thing to know.
You’re young to be ranked second overall in the world. What has given you the edge to climb so far, so fast?
Because I’m studying at university part time outside of sailing, I get to have a break. When I get home, I spend time with my friends and my studies. I have some distance from the sport when I’m not training, which is an important combination. I don’t only have sailing in my life. If something goes wrong I still have University and my friends to fall back on.
It also keeps my energy up. Sometimes, I don’t have a lot of time to train because I have an exam, so I have to sail smart and give it my all on the water so that I can focus on my studies. I’m studying Sports Science, which is cool because it gives me the tools to decide what to train and why.
You’ve been training with Sarah, but you’ve also had the chance to train with sailors from other countries. How has that helped you along the way?
It’s great to have other people to train with because they do it differently and you can often learn from that. In Laser sailing, we make each other better. We want to keep the information close, but we still train or race together. I train with the French girls, because our coaches are friends and they’re my friends. It’s a nice little training group.
For example, in Oman, I spent some time training with the French team. We made a lot of speed improvement learning how to sail fast in the waves there. It was an excellent training camp and we all had good results in Oman. It’s annoying to sail on these big waves with a small boat, but if you’re really fit and can hike the boat flat, it will sail fast. When the boat sails fast, it’s much easier to get over the waves, so it’s all about keeping the boat as flat as possible all the time.
You’ve been chasing Evi van Aker (BEL) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) through the rankings the past year. What has that experience been like for you?
It feels great, I’m very proud that I’m competing with them because they’re excellent sailors; they’ve been so good in the fleet for a long time, and it’s cool to beat them.
It’s hard to say exactly how I’ve caught up with them so quickly, but I’m trying to train more and train smarter than they are. I gained so many places in the rankings this year because I have a pretty good attitude at the end of regattas. I stay calm and I don’t get emotional about the place or the final races. I don’t get nervous.
Gold Medalist Xui Lijua (CHN) announced that she’s going to try for the Chinese berth for Rio, the day before you won the Laser Radial Worlds in Oman. What does her return mean to you?
It was a surprise for many that she decided to come back so late in the cycle. She’s sailing very well and she’s in good shape, which is important for the Laser. I think it’s great that she’s back, she’s only 28 so very young, so she has time.
It’s exciting for me, because we now have the gold, silver, and bronze medalists from 2012 to sail against. It would be awesome to beat all of them, and now I have the opportunity to do so.