“The Olympics is so special; it gathers together hundreds of sports and countries from all over the world. It is a contest not only of skills but also of mental toughness. On becoming an Olympic champion, I felt very lucky to do something I love; I was also so proud to be chosen as the flag bearer for China in the closing ceremony,” Lily reflects. “I realised my own dream as well as several generations of the Chinese sailing community. The gold medal made more Chinese people think about trying the sport themselves, and I’m very proud of that.”
Being at Southampton had a role in her success, Lily explains: “I chose to study at Southampton because it is reputable all over the world; its location is unique for sailing, as it’s ideally situated for the Solent, with many sailing schools, yachts, and regattas.
“On my premasters course, I learnt how to do research properly, a skill I have used in my sport – for sailing, fitness training, nutrition and psychology. It also enabled me to improve my English and learn about a different culture, which has helped me connect with sailors all over the world. I truly enjoyed my studying time in the University of Southampton and hope I will return soon,” she adds.
After she graduates from Southampton, Lily has further ambitions for sailing. “I’d like to keep sailing and try many different boats: yachts, inshore, offshore, and professional regattas like the Americas Cup and Volvo Round the World Ocean Race.”