But what is not, may yet come. Especially in Kira’s case. She already participated in the 2016 Games and has been storming the world’s top ever since. Is that medal coming? “Of course you hope for it, but there is so much competition in the 100-meter backstroke,” says her mother. “There are already eight ladies who swim faster than the gold medal from five years ago.”
Rank 9 in the world ranking
But it is also not impossible. Toussaint occupies ninth place in the world ranking this season. She has the best time of 58.65 seconds. Number 3 Regan Smith swam 57.92. So you would say seven tenths to a medal. In addition, there are four American ladies above Toussaint, while only two are allowed to go to the Games.
In Tokyo they are not there because of corona. The Olympians’ relatives and friends. And they are of enormous importance in the careers of these top athletes.
In this series, we portray the Olympian through the eyes of their loved ones. This time: swimmer Kira Toussaint and her mother Jolanda.
“And the best swimmer doesn’t necessarily win the gold medal,” says mother Jolanda. “Everyone who makes it to the final has a chance. Who best keeps the nerves under control, the form of the day is important. That all plays a part.”
‘The doctor made me go swimming’
But we should not focus on a medal, says Jolanda. “I am especially very curious. Also about the other swimmers. Femke Heemskerk, Ranomi of course. And Arno Kamminga is also in good shape in the breaststroke.”
But the Toussaint family must be a real swimming family. Or not? “Not at all,” says Jolanda. “The doctor made me go swimming because my back hurt,” she says. “And Kira first started doing other sports. Athletics, judo, but in the end she wanted to swim herself.”
‘She didn’t want to be the same as her mother’
Everyone always asked Kira if she went after her mother. While that wasn’t the idea at all. That could be difficult for her daughter, says Jolanda. “She didn’t want to be the same as her mother, she wanted to be herself.”
“And I didn’t want to put that pressure on her at all,” says Jolanda. The pressure of gold, because in Los Angeles she was the best in the 200 meter backstroke. She took bronze in the 100m backstroke.
Swimming lesson from mom
In the meantime Kira can also see the beautiful side of it, the comparison with Jolanda. For example, they give interviews together, and Jolanda also really likes that her daughter is so good. But is she surprised? Maybe not even like that.
Jolanda gave swimming lessons when her children were small. Secretly she could already see that Kira and her sister were a bit better than the rest. They didn’t necessarily train better, but the fanaticism in particular quickly became apparent. “Kira always had the spirit to surpass another at the last. She just always wanted to win.”
To the USA
It started in Amstelveen, then to Amsterdam, and in the teenage years Kira swam in Eindhoven. That’s where it went wrong. “She once stopped for four weeks, when she was nineteen. “It was not going well, the atmosphere was not good. But after four weeks she still wanted to continue. Then she went swimming at a university and was educated. That was a bit between ALO and movement sciences.”
It was a difficult few weeks when she stopped, Jolanda admits. “But what can you do about it, she lost the fun. Fortunately, that was back quickly in America. Swimming is really a team sport there, which helped.”
Damper on EC
She became better, more motivated and even made it to the Games in Rio, although they were not very successful for Kira. “She only did one distance, and the atmosphere in the team was not so good. It’s much better now, and that’s really important.”
Now she is much more ready than in 2016, especially after the European Championships disappointment last May. There Kira thought to have taken the silver medal, but due to problems with the starting signal, the final had to be swum over. She finished fourth in the repeat.
Whether her mother can still mean something in such difficult moments? “You do talk about it for a while. But she has learned to put those kinds of things aside. You have to keep going. And she is now 27, she can do it a bit herself.”
Jolanda is in any case going to sit down, whether the matches are at night or not. “The games start at three in the morning I believe. I’m not good at going to bed early. Well, maybe just an afternoon nap then.”
Kira Toussaint will be in action in Japan from 25 July from 12.00 CET.
You can read more stories about Olympians and their relatives here
Source: RTL Nieuws by www.rtlnieuws.nl.
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