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Borrowing from our friends in other sports, IFTPO is a new series of blog posts discussing observations from some of our favourite photos in the Olympic scene.

Moments after securing their first ever top level victory in the 49erFX, the camera catches sisters Anne-Julie and Maiken Schutt celebrating their win.  This Danish duo have been somewhat in the shadows of two time European champions Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen, and their beaming faces are clearly the focus of this shot.  But look a little deeper.  While everyone loves video, the moving images can often distract from the  best things to be learned from imagery, (right Luther Carpenter;)

Just behind the hand of Maiken is an insightful piece of coaching and modern performance improvement that is telling; FORGIVE!  This simple, one worded message is the only thing hand written on the entire boat, and it’s telling about how hard it must be to be a high performance athlete along side a sibling.  If there is any relationship in the world where you are likely to say the most damning and outragous things a youngster, it’s likely aimed at a brother or sister.  Heck, there are things you can say to a brother or sister that if you said to anyone else in the world you’d never even hear from them again, but a sibling just can’t get away.

The 49er scene has an enormous number of sibling teams, Alonso, Lang, McGovern, Agerup, Schutt, Paz, Holste, Gorge, Sibello, Martin, Hunter, Throop, and the rest of the teams just act like they’re siblings.  These two are working together to achieve their dreams, but unlike an unrelated partnership, their history of each other stretches all the way back.  That’s a lot of history and a lot of baggage.  Modern coaches are always asking their athletes to live in the moment and to constantly remove any barriers to performance.  Imagine how hard that would be sometimes if you literally have a storied explanation behind every mistake your sailing partner makes.  Forgive, a simple message to one or both of these two can be enough to let them sail faster.

The intensity on the water and the passion of youth can bring out the best and also the worst.  Any sailor can relate to the fog of anger that rolls in as thing start going badly on the water!  Congratulations are required for these two sisters and the Danish coaching staff for stamping out barriers to performance and getting past them, very plainly in the case of these two winners!  Lets see if a few other sibling teams do any scribbling next week to learn from the best;)

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