Apr 8, 2021
West Vancouver’s Nikola Girke is the first Canadian sailor to ever compete in three different boat classes at the Olympic Games. After debuting in the 470 (two-handed dinghy) at Athens 2004 with skipper Jen Provan, she switched to the RS:X (windsurfer) in 2005, qualifying for Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Remarkably, she competed in a new boat class, the mixed Nacra 17 (multihull), at Rio 2016 with partner Luke Ramsay, finishing 15th. Girke recorded the country’s best-ever Olympic result in the event with her 10th place finish at London.
Following her fourth Olympic appearance in Rio, Girke took a lengthy break from full-time training and competition to allow her mind and body to recuperate after 15 years as an elite athlete. In January 2020, she returned to racing RS:X in major international competition and placed fourth at the World Cup stop in Miami. That result secured an Olympic spot for Canada.
Girke started sailing at age 8 at summer camp and began racing at age 12… Got into windsurfing at age 16 on a trip to Costa Rica with her father who was an avid sailor.
Boardsailing is very physical, requiring strength to hold the wishbone and endurance for the non-stop pumping under many conditions. Due to lockdown, Nikola has bee training at home running and stationery bike hill sprints. “Due to Covid constraints, I haven’t been to an outside gym in a year,” she notes.
Nikola has dedication plus a remarkably broad range of experience and merges the athletic demands of her board with her strategic and tactical experience in other fleets. We hope it will all combine for a great showing in Tokyo.
(Left) on a new Jeanneau in Vancouver Harbour Credit Peter Robson
(Right) an Open 60 in New Zealand
(Left) upwind on the wire