Carolina Marin (Huelva, 1993) has been one of many athletes who this 2020 has split in half. However, for her it has been especially cruel: after overcoming a severe knee injury, in full preparation for the Olympic Games in which he defends gold, His father died.
Have been very tough months personally and professionally, but his unshakable winning mentality has led him to rise again. His philosophy of life, ‘I can because I think I can‘, becomes the title of a documentary series that premieres in Amazon Prime Video. In it you see the most unknown Marín: the one who has to ‘fight’ with his coach, Fernando Rivas, for having a life beyond sports, or the one who suffer the unspeakable when you are not comfortable with your game. The mental and physical recovery from his injury is largely part of a series that follows in the wake of other documentaries, such as Fernando Torres or Fernando Alonso.
On the occasion of its presentation, the three-time world champion, four-time European champion and current Olympic champion attends this medium to review how her last months have been.
What is ‘I can because I think I can’?
It is a motto that I have with myself. In Spain it has always been said that how someone was going to excel in badminton, and a girl from Huelva arrives who begins to stand out and achieve great things. It is a phrase that says it all.
What has it been like to have a recording team behind you all day?
It was pretty weird. In my day to day, both in training and in competition, I have never had a camera, especially when preparing for the game or when I am dressing or going out on the court. It was weird, but the production team understood the guidelines we had and they fitted in quite well with us. We have made a great team.
In the documentary series you can see the relationship he maintains with his coach, Fernando Rivas, and how are the normal tensions in his work day. How many times do you want to send him away?
(Laughs) We’ve been working for 14 years and we have a perfect coach-player relationship. They are many hours a day together, and as in any relationship we have our ups and downs. There are conversations, as seen in the documentary, and we carry them out. We have a lot of moments of all kinds, but maybe he would have sent me to hell once (laughs).
If for everyone this 2020 is being complicated, for you it has been very hard both professionally and personally). How have you coped and what lessons can you learn?
I always say that from everything bad you have to get good and positive things. In confinement we have noticed details that go unnoticed on a daily basis, such as a kiss or a hug. I was living at home with my mother and she would not kiss or hug her. They are things that we forget and are basic in our day to day. Another thing that I have learned is that I have gotten stronger and you play down some things. Last year, with my knee injury, I thought it was the worst thing in the world and a few months ago I lost my father. These are things that make you think that maybe an injury is not a catastrophe, but losing your father is. They are things that teach us, very hard, but that help us to move forward. Let’s see if 2020 is over, we close the book and keep it in the bottom of the drawer so that 2021 comes much better.
In that 2021, his great objective is to defend the Olympic title … if the Games are finally played. What has changed between Rio’s Carolina Marín and Tokyo’s?
I am another Carolina. With five more years, with other life experiences. But for me personally this has been good postponement of the Games for the problem I was experiencing. Being clear that I had a year ahead made me have things clearer, that tranquility to prepare it much better than this year if it had been done, that I had many doubts. Especially because, apart from myself, now I want more than ever to go for that gold medal.
You are in permanent contact with the people of Asia. Have you seen many differences in managing the pandemic?
Due to my personal situation, I have not been able to be very aware of what was happening abroad, obviously in Spain yes, but I have not been able to much abroad. I have been able to speak with some gaming friends, especially from India. There is a lot of poverty there and it is almost impossible to keep track of all the people who may have been infected. They have had it very complicated. They have started training many months after me.
In these two difficult years, first because of the injury and then because of the pandemic and the situation of your father, have you felt the support of the institutions?
During the injury I have felt supported more than ever, both by the Olympic Committee and above all by each of my sponsors. I thought that since I was not going to compete, some sponsor would not want to renew me or be with me, but everyone has shown me their love. They constantly asked me about my injury, how I was doing… I have felt a lot of support and very sheltered. I am eternally grateful for being in the hard times, because that is when you see who is really with the athletes.