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