Jo Aleh has had a break from Olympic sailing after winning two Olympic medals. She has been involved with coaching at Olympic level and worked as a corporate Performance Coach.
She has been through many challenges of being an athlete including pressures around looking athletic and focusing on her body weight. She says while on the surface she seemed to be performing well, she says not eating enough had a much higher consequence for her health in the long term.
“Under-eating for three or four years and doing what I thought was healthy was actually very unhealthy.” She had constant stomach and sinus issues.
“Three years after the Olympics I was still in a recovery phase, getting my body back to a state when I could actually do things again.”
“I worry about the young girls come through there is an expectation to look athletic, and generally that is thin. When you are doing the amount of energy expenditure we do, you are better off not be really thin because then you have got no reserves. And you can’t be as strong and you can’t be as resilient.”
There are many other more important things than your weight such as getting a good start or getting the first wind shift.
As Jo returns to Olympic sailing she says “As long as I am enjoying my own sailing, I will take everything as it comes. I have realised I don’t always need a full plan. Things will pop up and if it seems like the right thing to do, then it is the right thing to do.”
To find resources to help you encourage your children into good eating habits: www.emmawright.co.nz/ecourse
For the full podcast listen here: https://www.facebook.com/YachtingNewZealand/videos/550576043161770
Author, Melinda Henshaw, is an ex Olympic sailor and is a member of NZ Marine Association and the Boating Industry Association of Australia and promotes the TIWAL Inflatable sailing dinghy for hassle free sailing.
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I am a New Zealand sailor who learned to sail in the beautiful Malborough Sounds and then went onto represent NZ at the 2000 Olympics.