Gisela: “In the Games, the fastest will not win, but the most intelligent”

Gisela Pulido (01-14-1994, Premià de Mar) is sea and wind. To the 10 years she was the champion of the youngest world of kitesurfing and in their palmares they shine ten world titles in the modality of freestyle. Now his new challenge is to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and for this he has had to reinvent himself. It’s in full olympic campaign for the Formula Kite modality, it is currently in Marseille for the Test Eventand his gaze is focused on the world which will be held in August in The Hague. There the first places will be put into play to qualify the country for the Games and Gisela wants to take advantage of it. Of this and more, always exuding kindness and sympathy, spoke with AS during his stay in Tarifa after an event organized by the White Claw drink.

How are you?

Very good Happy.

Now he is in Marseille, which is where the Olympic Games will be held, for the Test Event. What do you think of the race course?

It is very complicated because it is a mountainous and rocky area and then you have the island right in the middle of the bay. The wind comes in from land, gusty and it is quite complicated.

The Test Event is the perfect preview for the World Cup in The Hague, which will be in August. How are you doing?

We are happy and training hard. Looking forward to adding training sessions, competition and to see if we can do nice things.

Surely it has the World Cup marked in red. With desire?

Many. We are following a process and what I want most is to achieve that Olympic place to be able to be in the Games.

What options do you have to get the ticket for the Games already in this World Cup?

I think we are there, in the leading group. There are eight places and, by country, I think we are among the best four. France already has the place secured, so I think I’m there with England and the United States. I see it quite feasible, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. You have to give everything.

“In the World Cup there are eight places for the Games and I think we are among the best four. I see it quite feasible, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. You have to give everything”

Gisela Pulido

Is the training hard?

Quite a bit because I’m missing that weight leap. I feel with possibilities and good technically, with good speed, but in the end those 15-20 kilos that the rivals take from me make me suffer much more. Going at the speed they are going requires a lot from me physically and maybe I can’t keep up at that pace during the whole regatta. For them physically it means nothing and for me everything. I just got exhausted after a day of racing and I notice that from the first days to the last few days my performance drops. The handicap of not weighing what it touches is costing me results. I know that I can be higher up, have better results, but it is something that is there. Mentally, it’s a bit difficult for me and I’m working with psychologists, trying to eat as much as I can and doing gymnastics to get to weight. Of course, I know that the results will come and little by little I will gain muscle.

How many kilos should he gain?

I would like to reach 70 kilos and now I am at 63. Although I am quite stagnant. I’m vegan and it’s hard for me to climb. Now it is true that we have slowed down the pace of cardio training because if I do two-hour bike sessions I have to eat much more. It is difficult for me not to see the result, but I try to be very constant. We did a study last year and I was in a deficit of 1,000 calories a day. That’s hard. The weeks of training I lost weight and now I try to eat while I train. But it is that it goes a bit against my diet since I want the least processed by man and it is complicated. It is a sacrifice. The problem is that a month that I get confused I lose four kilos. My normal weight is 53, so I’m already at +10. But I need more.

You are very demanding. How do you deal with the pressure?

The pressure is more that I put myself than for others. I always want to win. I am very competitive and I don’t like to finish fifth. First I want to be on the podium and then win. My demand is maximum. Because of the weight, there are girls who a couple of years ago were behind me and now they are ahead. Psychologically it’s hard because being Top-10 or Top-5 isn’t worth it for me, I want more. Although this does not mean that I enjoy what I do a lot. That’s why I’m here. You have to enjoy the day to day, the road, and the experience of doing an Olympic campaign.

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“I always want to win. I am very competitive, I don’t like to finish fifth”.

Gisela Pulido

You have been ten times freestyle world championso you don’t have to prove anything to anyone either…

Exactly and that’s what I have in mind. I’ve won my ten freestyle world championships, which is what I’ve always competed in, and now I’m doing something different. The important thing is to enjoy, relax and train hard.

What is the biggest change you have noticed now that you are competing in Formula Kite?

This is like sailing. There is a course with buoys, windward-leeward, and the truth is that I quite like it because the freestyle was less mental. There was little tactics and here it is perhaps a little more objective: whoever arrives first wins. What I like about this discipline is that you have to think a lot more, about the roles, pressures, starts, see who I have to leeward, who to windward… I have many things to think about and weapons to do the regatta.

What is it like to be in an Olympic campaign?

It is quite heavy, the level of training and sacrifice are high. In addition, all the time that you do not spend, the rival is doing it. So it’s a race against time to see who comes out better. And psychologically it is a challenge because everything revolves around that, you put a lot of pressure on yourself because for the last few years you have worked to do well in the Games and win a medal. You have to prepare well and I am very clear that in Marseille the fastest will not win, but the most intelligent, who thinks the most and manages the regattas best.

How important is working with sports psychologists?

It is vital. I have been with my psychologist for two years and I am delighted. She helps me structure the goals, training… to put everything on the table. We analyze everything and there is a lot of data. It helps me a lot and I talk about sport, but also about personal issues. On a sporting level, and in terms of personnel, I support one hundred percent having a psychologist.

Is being in Paris 2024 more of a dream or a thorn in the side?

A dream, very clear, not a thorn because before it didn’t depend on me that the kite was Olympic so I couldn’t do anything. When it came up that Formula Kite was Olympic, I said that I wanted to try it to see if I liked it and here I am. I really enjoy what I do and if I don’t have a good time, I don’t do it. I practice sports because I enjoy sailing, training and competing, if not swimming. I’m not in an Olympic campaign to be.

Gisela Pulido.
Gisela Pulido.

What do you do to disconnect?

I play sports every day and now I’m addicted to paddle tennis (smile). I can get to do two games a day. And then I try to get into the water whenever I can, I surf if there are waves. And in winter I go skiing. But I also like to be quietly at home, to rest. I don’t stop, but I also disconnect, which is important.

Rate or Barcelona?

I think fee. I am a person who really likes nature. In Barcelona I lack that, there is a lot of city. I live in the Maresme area, which is sort of very urban and I don’t feel like I’m 100% disconnected. Then I go to the beach there and it is crowded with people, I can’t find a space, there are always people around. Here you can go anywhere and not meet anyone. I love connecting with myself and being alone with my dog… here in Tarifa I can.

Are you going to take Fly, your dog, to The Hague?

He is always with me, but I don’t believe in The Hague. We are working with the psychologist on my dependency on Fly. I remember that last year I was at the European Championships and the World Cup, which was like a month away from home, and the last week of the World Cup I broke down because I really wanted to see him again. In some Games that can’t happen to me. We’re managing that a bit.

months ago it was announced that would compete with Dorsia Covirán. Will you be able to combine it with your workouts?

I would really like to, but traveling means sacrificing the gym, hours of training and eating well. When I travel I lose weight, instead of gaining it. Being at home stabilizes me. I want to go but I don’t know how to manage it. Perhaps I go more after the World Cup, in September-October because it is beneficial to spend hours sailing.

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