Winning an Olympic medal is the Holy Grail for sportspeople, whatever their discipline. But how do you bounce back from such an experience? How do you build on such a performance? With just a few weeks to go before the start of the Olympic Games in France, we have selected some inspirational and unique stories from Olympic sailing medallists.

Whether British, French, German or Spanish, theses athletes are overcoming sporting, human and environmental challenges. Here’s a closer look at Hannah Mills, Jean Galfione, Damien Seguin, Susann Beucke and Joan Cardona.

Hannah Mills – British Olympic medallist in the 470 – Tokyo Games – 2020

Hannah Mills won a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012 and a gold medal in Rio in 2016. However, her biggest challenge is to raise awareness for a cleaner environment and a more gender-balanced sports scene. In 2019, she launched the Big Plastic Pledge campaign, which aims to eliminate single-use plastics in sport.

A strategist on the Sail GP circuit, she is also an ambassador for the Women’s Pathway, which aims to get female sailors on board and encourages having a female driver on the circuit by 2026. Hannah Mills is an example of perseverance and optimism for a better world.

If you take inspiration from Mills, why not try GlobeSailor’s sailing courses?

Jean Galfione – French Olympic medallist in pole vault – Atlanta Games – 1996

A gold medallist at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 in pole vaulting, Jean Galfione is also known for his career as a skipper. In 2005, he turned to his second passion, sailing, joining the French team preparing for the America’s Cup. In 2012, he finished seventh in the Solidaire du Chocolat, a transatlantic race where he competed with Tanguy de Lamotte. Piqued by the Class’40, he built a boat with his partner Serenis Consulting and set off on a series of prestigious races: the Route du Rhum in 2014, 2018 and 2022, the Normandy Channel Race in 2017 and the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2021. From Olympic pole vaulter to ocean racer, Jean Galfione has proved that perseverance and humbleness are the key to achieving your sporting goals.

We were lucky enough to meet Jean on his first yacht charter with GlobeSailor in 2014. In 2021, thanks to a competition we organised together, we also had the opportunity to sail on his Class40.

© Vincent Curutchet

Damien Seguin – French Paralympic medallist in 2004 – Athens Games – 2004

A double Paralympic sailing gold medallist in Athens in 2004 and Rio in 2016, he also won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. Flag-bearer for the French delegation in London in 2012, Damien Seguin has established himself as a key figure in the Olympic Games.

At the same time, he took up ocean racing, joining the Figaro circuit and then the Class’40, taking part in solo and double-handed events such as the Transat Jacques Vabre and the Route du Rhum. In 2018, he continued his ocean racing career in the Imoca class, culminating in his participation in the Vendée Globe in 2020-2021. He finished 7th aboard his boat Groupe Apicil, becoming the first disabled skipper to complete a solo non-stop round-the-world race without assistance.

In 2024, he will be lining up at the start of the Vendée Globe aboard his new hydrofoil boat. Twice presented with the Légion d’honneur, Damien Seguin is making his mark in sailing circles.

Susann Beucke – German 49er Olympic medallist – Tokyo Games – 2020

A silver medallist in the 49er class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Susann Beucke is a key figure in German sailing. In 2022, she took her first steps into ocean racing and joined the Figaro circuit. Determined, she took part in her first Figaro solo race the same year and trained hard, with the aim of being the first German woman to line up at the start of the Vendée Globe in 2028. In 2022-2023, she joined the PRB-Holcim crew to take part in The Ocean Race.

For Susann, “You have to believe in yourself and follow your own path. That’s the only way to reach your destination.”

Joan Cardona – Spanish Olympic dinghy medallist – Tokyo Games – 2020

Bronze medallist at the Tokyo Games in 2020, Spaniard Joan Cardona then joined the Spanish team on the Sail GP circuit. Tactician and grinder in the youngest crew on the circuit, he is a central figure. It was in Los Angeles that the Spaniards took their first win in season 4, adding to the honours won by the young man, who hails from the island of Menorca, a popular destination for yacht charter holidays.

This year, between 28 July and 8 August in Marseille, ten Olympic titles and thirty medals will be awarded in the sailing events. At GlobeSailor, we share this Olympic spirit and follow the sporting news with a passion. We look forward to following the sailing events at the 2024 Olympic Games! 💪🏽

Are you inspired to set sail?