Pilar Lamadrid: “What gets you hooked on this sport is wanting to be the best, the fastest”

Pilar Lamadrid (Seville, 26 years old) will be one of Spain’s great assets at the Paris 2024 Games at iQFOiL. The Andalusian windsurfer, who also has a Degree in Physiotherapy, is participating, together with the Spanish pre-Olympic team, in the 52nd Princess Sofia Trophy and continues to make people talk. She chats with AS at the national team concentration hotel in Palma de Mallorca and cannot help but smile when asked about Paris 2024. Of course, without pressure. She first wants to get the place for the country, then make it hers and, once in Marseille (the venue for sailing at the Olympic Games) try to hang a medal.

How would you explain your sailing class, the iQFOiL?

It’s not an easy question, let’s see where I start (he jokes). It is a part of Olympic sailing, a sport in which we compete with many boats at the same time and there is no lap time, there are different tasks, which are routes, and in a week there are many. These are scored as you reach the goal, that is, if you arrive first, you are first. We move with the wind, which is the important thing, we sail 100 boards together and we have to predict the wind, what the others are going to do. What we do is racing.

What led you to bet on iQFOiL?

It came a little imposed on me, really. It comes from the family because my father was involved in the world of sailing and at the same time my grandfather, his father, had it as a tradition because they went to Punta Umbría and sailed there. Later, my grandfather was at the Club Náutico de Sevilla as a sailing member, as they were very involved in the sailing competition since I was little… so of course, my brothers and I had to continue in the world of sailing. sail, in the Optimist. Later I was also lucky that my father, in addition to trying all the boats, is a windsurfer so he gave me the option of trying windsurfing when I didn’t want any more Optimist and since then no one has stopped me.

Will your next step be to be in the Olympic Games?

I don’t know (laughs). Maybe we did start with this Games thing. When I started windsurfing, the absolute idols I had were Blanca Manchón and Marina Alabau, who were number 1 and 2 in the world ranking, and they sailed where I… there were many things. It was like I wanted to live that life, have that experience and then Marina won the medal and gave me the rush. But now, when I’m really that close to it, I’m not so focused on it anymore. Yes they will come or not, but they will be a consequence. What I’m getting at is that what really gets you hooked on this sport is trying to be up there, being the best, the fastest, the one who plays chess best in the water… being the best in the world hooks you, right? just qualify the country for the Games and go. What hooks you is wanting to go further and I am at that point. I only remember the Games when someone asks me.

You have spoken of chess in the water…

At the beginning, when you don’t quite understand what it’s about and I myself, in my youthful stage, sail and that’s it. You don’t get to understand how the game is. When you get to higher levels and start to see strategies, tactics, understanding how the wind works is a world. Not even watching it on TV do you see the variables. It’s not just about playing with the positioning of the other boats, which is the same as any other race, but you also have to try to guess, play, intuit the gust of the wind. It is a very complete sport and that is why it is so difficult to explain. But it’s part of its charm too.

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Until very recently it was number 1 in the world ranking and now it is the third. Because?

When I got to number 1 in the world it was an absolute surprise. It’s true that I managed to be up there throughout the season and seeing myself there motivates you and it’s great. That’s just curious, that now I’m third after winning the last regatta… but I don’t know. It is an incentive because it is a sum of all the good that you are doing.

Being up there also adds pressure. Now wherever Pilar Lamadrid goes, it seems that she always has to win. How does she manage it?

Yes, human beings love to speculate, talk… it’s difficult because people only see the results and that doesn’t reflect all the work behind it, or what you’re going through or what your goal is in each competition. You have to know the route and the level of performance. For example, here at the Princesa Sofía Trophy I played on Thursday, but we are there. This is not the key regatta of the season to say ‘my goodness, I’ve messed it up’.

Just that. In a few months come the Test Event in Marseille (July) and the World Cup in The Hague (August)…

Exactly, but the one that is one hundred percent as the objective of the season is the World Cup because there you have to achieve the Olympic place yes or yes. We have range, unless something extraordinary happens, because we are there and working hard for it. There are very real possibilities of achieving the square. And then also because I want to remove the thorn, in the World Cup, last year and continue fighting. The fleet pushes more and more and we must go to the rhythm. We have to perform at our best in the next World Cup and we are going to go for it.

At the country level, who are your main rivals?

Israel has a very large group of girls, they all push a lot and are the ones at the top in all the championships, it’s incredible. Then there is Great Britain too. They are the most powerful.

What have you had to sacrifice to be a professional sailor?

Something that I have noticed in these last years, that I have gone from a half university life to being a professional, is the amount of physical energy that is lost. You always arrive exhausted from the water and in moments of rest I would love to go out there, with my friends and family, but life can take me. If I could have as much time with mine as I wanted it would be amazing.

Blanca Manchón and Marina Alabau were her references. Do you think that you are now the benchmark for all those girls who start at iQFOiL?

I am surprised when they ask me for a photo, an autograph… I couldn’t be happier for having trained with my references and I still remember when, for example, Marina gave me a wetsuit. Now with social networks it is easier, the love I receive is incredible. I like being very close to the boys and girls because I have been there, it is a feeling that is not forgotten and I am very grateful. May they continue to push and enjoy this sport, which is wonderful.

What advice do you get from your parents?

They are always there, my family is the engine and the one that has given me everything to be in the world of sport. My parents have been my sponsors first and now I always have them with me. They tell me a lot to trust me. Working already work, sacrificing I also sacrifice so I just need to enjoy and trust.

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