Everything has been said and done. I finished second at the World Championships. I'm home again, and that's good. I won the medal race, but was happier that it was the finish, rather than the fact that it was a win. That finish line was my very last on the RS:X, and the door to the Tokyo Olympic Games is now very firmly closed.
But what does that mean for me?
It means that I can finally put my family first – Sas, Lise and Rhea. It means that when I look towards the water at Paal 17, I no longer have any Olympic dreams. That I only have fun on the water, with my children, my brother, with Kiran, with whoever.
It means that when I'm in the Netherlands, I can do fun things with mum, dad, and Adriaan for more than just a few minutes. That I can occasionally look for the peace that Texel can offer me. It’s typically something that guests come to the island for, but actually locals themselves can embrace it too. It means that those iconic golden Olympic rings hung outside our house will come down.
Sometimes I do, and will feel a sadness. Something which has given me so much has come to an end. The boy from Texel not only grew as a sportsman but also a person. I am so grateful to all the people I encountered on this wonderful journey, it’s something that cannot be written or said in words.
Fortunately, I won't miss Kiran and Aaron too much, just yet. In the last year I have seen more of them than my wife and kids. And, I want to help Kiran – I will do everything to prove that a lamppost can win an Olympic gold medal. I will help Kir, but will balance that with my family role. We have fought on the water like true friends, very respectfully. If there is something that I will miss, it's that, sitting with him and Aaron in the coach boat after a busy day at the office.
I have always found it difficult when people put me on a pedestal and therefore do not want to make my departure from the sport any more heroic than it is. I just wanted to go home, I was done, it was all over after the Worlds. Kiran continues that’s life.
I will probably also stop this blog, at least for the time being. These blogposts, to which many of you often responded nicely, were dear to me. You should know how beautiful I thought it was, I wish I could thank everyone with a big hug.
But that is not possible – not just yet.
This summer, during the WAVES festival we will do all of that. Even more than last year (and I already thought last year was awesome). I now have time for that. I will go foiling, dancing, hang out barefoot on the beach, listen to wonderful music and I'm going to sail around Texel and… party of course!
I am no longer an Olympic sportsman. Yes it has made me a bit emotional these past days, but it is a feeling I can also laugh about. Wonderful new things are waiting for me. I know that for sure. What exactly those things are, not quite sure yet.
So, don’t feel bad about this. Part of the journey is the end.
Thank you all so much!
The boys with from right to left: Aaron McIntosh (NZL), Ivan Pastor (ESP), Elliot Carney (GBR), Dorian van Rijsselberghe, Kiran Badloe, Antonio Cozollino (NZL), Sil Hoekstra
Header photo: Ayolt Kloosterboer