By Rokur Jakupsstovu, Swimming World Scandinavian correspondent
BALTIMORE, Maryland, October 13. SPEAKING with the Danish newspaper BT, Lotte Friis reveals that she was planning to retire after Herning 2013, but has decided to continue until the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, in an attempt to ‘avenge’ her flop at London 2012. It will be part time though, as she has already started to prepare for a life after swimming, where she hopes to be a television host or producer.
“The World Championships was an eye opener for me,” Friis said to BT. “I found out that I can still compete. I had otherwise planned to swim this season and then stop after the European Championships in Denmark. But that plan is now in the trash can. My confidence got a huge boost from the World Championships, and now I believe again that I accomplish something at the Olympics in Rio in 2016. There I aim to take a medal.”
Here is a full English translation of the BT article:
Lotte Friis thrives in the US with the world’s best coach, and dreams of Olympic rectification, while starting an education.
Danish swim queen Lotte Friis is in her first existential crisis. Two World Championships silver medals in July destroyed her plans for a career stop, instead kick-starting the dream of Olympic revenge and redress in Rio in 2016. Friis’ problem is that she has already started preparing for life after her swimming career and is therefore now in a dilemma.
– The World Championships was an eye opener for me. I found out that I can still compete. I had otherwise planned to swim this season and then stop after the European Championships in Denmark. But that plan is now in the trash can. My confidence got a huge boost from the World Championships, and now I believe again that I accomplish something at the Olympics in Rio in 2016. There I aim to take a medal, says Lotte Friis, who makes no secret that the downfall at the Olympics in London hurt her ego.
As one of the most secure chances of a Danish medal at the games in London, Friis flopped completely in the 800-meter final, accomplishing only a disappointing fifth place.
– I got a huge confidence knock after the Olympics. I felt like I was knocked 10 meters underground. So the whole season up to the World Championships (in July this year, Ed.) was very tough. The desire was pretty much gone all of last season. It didn’t come back until two months before the World Championships started. The desire was gone, because my faith in myself was also gone. In this way the World Championships was a great satisfaction to me. And I would also like to have a rectification for the Olympics – and then again I just love to swim, says the 25-year-old swimmer.
The extension of the swimming career does mean though that Lotte Friis has ended up in what she herself with a smile calls an ‘existential crisis’.
For swimming was actually pushed in the background, and Friis’ thoughts began to revolve about the future and a job in the media world. That is why the Friis is now in a situation where she does not know what the future holds after the Europeans at home in December. She wants to play on two horses, but does not know if it can be done.
Currently Lotte Friis is thriving with the world’s best swim coach Bob Bowman, the man behind the swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps, in a training camp in the United States, where she shares the pool with some of the world’s best swimmers. But when this is completed in six weeks, and the last stroke at the European Championships in Herning has been taken, then the future is more uncertain for Friis.
– I’m at a loss right now with what I should do. What I want most is to combine swimming with starting an education. I talk a lot with the national coach about what can be done, but right now 10,000 thoughts just fly through my head. But I really want to start studying. If I can not do that, it might be I should consider staying permanently in the United States. Nice is also a possibility. Everything is in fact in play, but I know nothing right now, she says.
Can you get an education and still train enough to win a medal at the Olympics in 2016?
– I hope yes. I hope that the breaks from swimming can push me a bit more and give me a little more as a swimmer. But it will of course also require that it is possible to follow the program at reduced hours, says Friis, who has set her sights on the TV and media production education at the Media School in Emdrup, as the education she would enter next summer.
The dream is though that the former Dancing with the Stars participant ends in front of the camera.
– I really want to enter the television and media industry. The ultimate for me would be to become a TV host at some wonderful program, but the chances of that are very small, and it’s also a bit about being lucky that something just falls into your lap. But the backup plan is to be behind the camera and get a production up and running. That I would also like, says Friis.
While the mind runs in high gear with thoughts about the future and the lack of security, Lotte Friis is also getting new inspiration from her swimming career in Baltimore in the United States under the legendary Bob Bowman. And it has so far been a success, says Lotte Friis, who already feels that she has developed.
– It is the small details like how I breathe, how do I put the hand in the water. When you have reached this level, it is those small things that need to be optimized to get better, but it is not always one’s steady coach who can see it, and then it is very good to get new eyes on it, says Lotte Friis, who also gets many useful tips from the other swimmers in training camp.
– There are a lot of medalists from the Olympics, World Cup and European Championships. It is the best sporting group I’ve ever been in. It is very special, and it is very stimulating. This means that I get a whole new perspective on many things by being in so high-profiled a group. I see how others tackle things, and we do a lot to help each other to be better in the water where the other swimmers can see things that the coach can not because he is on deck, says Lotte Friis.