How to win an Olympic Medal: Lily Xu & Jon Emmett

How do you win an Olympic medal? Chinese sailor Lily Xu won two of them, a bronze at Beijing 2008 and then gold in that dramatic four-way fight in the Medal Race in front of a packed crowd at the London 2012 Games. Here, Lily and her long-time coach Jon Emmett talk through the qualities and skills required to climb to the very top step of the highest podium in sport.


It’s an in-depth 45-minute interview by former Olympic campaigner Andy Rice who asks the dynamic duo about various elements that contributed to their success on the world stage...

Time line

2:31 The mental toughness required, and how Lily developed it

5:28 “I was an actress giving the performance of my life...”

8:24 Jon: “Lily stood out from the rest for her constant drive to improve...”

10:22  Why did it matter that Annalise Murphy didn’t do a pre-race interview?

13:31  What Chinese can learn from European sailors, and what Europeans can learn from the Chinese...

18:51 The ‘right’ source of motivation if you want to win...

25:04  Why sailing is the best sport in the world

33.09  When negative thoughts crept in, and how to banish them

39.11  Why lockdown is a golden opportunity

41.21  It’s not so much about winning a gold medal as not losing it




Are you signed up to Sailjuice Essential? It's our free monthly newsletter full of advice, tips and techniques from the world's best sailors. What's more, we'll send you a free copy of our ebook Sail Different – guaranteed to bring some fresh ideas to your sailing.

Click the button below and take your sailing to the next level!