Brother and coach Roelof Bouwmeester thinks Marit Bouwmeester's bronze medal in the Laser Radial class is a great achievement.

The defending champion had anything but a flawless week at the Tokyo Olympics, but still fought on the podium.

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Marit Bouwmeester didn't quite know what to feel when she came to her brother after the medal race on Sunday.

"I don't know whether I'm happy or not," said the 33-year-old Friezin.

"But I immediately answered: 'I think you can be very proud of what you have shown,'" says Roelof Bouwmeester.

"If you see where we came from, this is really a bronze medal."

The coach was referring to the beginning of this year, when Marit Bouwmeester was unable to sail for eight weeks because she suffered from a kind of tennis elbow.

And he was mainly referring to the special week in Japan, in which his sister experienced enough highs and lows for a whole year.

"What Marit can be very proud of is how she dealt with all the setbacks and difficulties we had," says Roelof Bouwmeester.

"I immediately said that she should enjoy this medal."

"I know she didn't do that in London when she took silver and that she only realized later that it was something special to win an Olympic medal. So I expect and hope she realizes right away that this is a wonderful achievement. "

Marit Bouwmeester won her third Olympic medal in Japan.

Marit Bouwmeester won her third Olympic medal in Japan.

Photo: Pro Shots

'It hasn't been an easy week'

Marit Bouwmeester's Olympic tournament started off difficult with a 21st and 14th place in the first two races.

The biggest low was her disqualification in race seven, when she started too early.

Thanks to a few good performances and mistakes by the Danish leader Anne-Marie Rindom, she still had a chance at gold in the medal race on Sunday, but after a failed start and a catch-up race she only finished sixth and dropped from second to second in the standings. third place.

"It has not been an easy week, but that is also our job," said Roelof Bouwmeester, who has known his sister well and long enough to help her with the difficult moments.

"I always try to average out the emotions a bit. When Marit is very grumpy and frustrated, I try to calm her down by emphasizing the positives. And that has certainly been my role this week."

Marit Bouwmeester praised her brother for his influence in what was a tough tournament for her.

"Roelof is doing really fantastic. I even feel a bit guilty that I didn't pull out more at these Games. I would have loved to have given Roelof that gold medal."

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