|This month for our second ever Faces of Bodyneed post we are profiling Natalia Kosinska. Natalia is a massage therapist on the Bodyneed team and you may be familiar with Natalia's fight to keep her spot at the Rio Olympics. Natalia qualified in 2014 but was unfortunately not able to keep her spot in the team. This month Natalia tells us about how she got into windsurfing to begin with...
"I grew up in the northern east part of Poland, which is called Musaria or the lake district. It’s a beautiful part of the country with lots of glacier lakes and forests. I spent my university years in Gdansk, one of Poland’s biggest cities and a main port on the Baltic Coast.
Both my parents were into sport and my dad was a competitive sailor. It was on the boat that he built himself that I sailed first. I think I was around ten years old. What I remember most is dad saying that sailors wake up with the sun. I would make sure I was up at sunrise only to watch my dad snore away till 9am! It was my mum that signed me and my twin sister up to do sailing. We were thirteen. We raced cadet class for two years (a very popular two person dinghy in Poland and Argentina). I remember towards the end of the second season I became fascinated with windsurfing. First of all, windsurfers just looked cooler than sailors, secondly, they were fast on the water and there was very little boat work involved. In September 1995 I started windsurfing, something that for almost twenty years took me around the world and partly shaped the person I am today.
What mostly inspired me in my early years of windsurfing was the joy of training in a great team environment and the long lasting satisfaction from achieving good results.
Because the Olympic Games are only every 4 years, the time I was training and competing it was a very 'distant' goal. Especially with the way Olympic sport works in NZ (funding is based on world champs each year and only lasts for 12 months). I operated on 6 month cycles. It is difficult for me to relate to an event so far away. You don't think much about the Olympics, you just execute your training and competition plan and hope that every season will take you closer to qualify for the games.
Sometimes a thought would creep into my mind what if I don't qualify? I remember it was a very disturbing feeling. Pure fear - you never want to operate from that place so you turn it around into a challenge.
I think it is very special to be able to compete at the highest level. So many things have to come into place over a long period of time. It's very satisfying when you win a race at the world championship level. You almost feel like you've got superpowers.
It may sound cliché but my best piece of advice is accept and like yourself as you are. Look after yourself: learn and try new things, eat well, exercise."