Monika on her way to Tokyo 2020: “Sailing is my thing, my passion”


I’m Monika Mikkola, 21-year-old sailor from Espoo, Finland. I’m on the road to the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 together with CCEA, and I have promised to share a bit of my journey with you. But before we move ahead, maybe I’ll tell something about myself.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved a challenge and liked to keep myself busy. Growing up in an active family I learned to ski before I could walk and sail shortly after. For a while I enjoyed both sports, but the older I got the clearer it was that sailing was my thing, my passion. I love the sea, and the endless challenges and opportunities sailing offers.

I am three-time Laser Radial Youth World Champion (2013, 2014, 2016) and two-time Youth European Champion. I qualified to be the Finnish representative for the ISAF Youth Worlds for three consecutive years, from which I won two bronze medals. I’ve been awarded Finland’s Youth Sailor of the year twice. I moved to senior racing in 2016, achieving a World ranking of 4th in 2017 after two World Cup medals.

My childhood dream and current goal is to represent Finland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Being a full-time athlete literally means it takes up all of your time. Leaving home, friends and family behind almost 260 days a year isn’t easy, but I love what I do. It is hard and challenging, but so worth it. I love travelling, but after being away from home for months, I must admit that sleeping in my own bed feels pretty good.

2018 for me started in the heat of Miami, where I spent all of January training and competing in the first Sailing World Cup of the year. I learned heaps of new tricks and I’ll continue practising those in Spain during February and March. I’ll finish off the spring in France, competing in round two of the Sailing World Cup circuit in Hyeres. Straight after that I’ll head to La Rochelle to race against the best girls in Europe in the Laser Radial European Championships.

Sailing, like life, is always changing. You never have the same conditions twice. Waves, wind and weather are never the same, which forces you to always change or try new techniques and styles. This requires an open mind, every day.

There are million different ways to sail a boat, and every time I go on the water I try to make my own way of sailing better. Changing things all the time and running away from your comfort zone is a challenge, but when you approach it with an open mind and determination, it turns into success! Two steps back and three steps forward! That’s how I do it 🙂

Stay tuned: I’ll share my thoughts and feelings after the Laser Radial European Championships in May.

Until next time,

CCEA and Monika Mikkola signed a sponsorship agreement already in 2015. The goal is to support Monika on her way to the top in sailing and towards to the Tokyo Olympics.