International Women’s Day: How Marianne Vos showed us a lesson in bouncing back

To celebrate International Women’s Day we need to talk about the women that inspire us. Marianne Vos won Olympic gold and world championships over and over again, but that didn’t happen overnight. She knows what it’s like to pick yourself up from the ground again and to fight against your boundaries.

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We admit we’re totally biased because Marianne Vos is on the Jumbo-Visma team, but there's no denying that this athlete is a great role model for everyone. Even if winning a gold medal isn’t on top of your list.

Marianne is a 34-year old woman from the small town of Babyloniëbroek who can do anything. Cyclocross, cycling, track cycling… She won them all. She won Olympic gold twice, became world champion thirteen times, European champion three times, and Dutch champion sixteen times. Considering she did all this in a time frame of sixteen years and delivers top performances on all kinds of terrains, saying her career is impressive is quite an understatement.

The way to the top is rarely a straight line though. Marianne knows. In 2015 she lost her mojo for a while. She trained harder than ever before, but it didn’t give her the results she hoped for. Instead of becoming stronger, she got injured. Her usual strategy of working as hard as possible turned against her. She learned a hard lesson that is relevant to all of us: you need to listen to your body ‘cause it always tells the truth. Instead of forcing things, sometimes it’s better to take a step back to see the full picture again. Look inwards, regroup and come back stronger.

Learning a valuable lesson like this doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen again. Marianne told journalists she still experiences slumps every now and then. The difference is that now she can see them coming and anticipate that. It’s her cue to take a small step back and accept the fact that you can’t bloom all the time. She still feels this huge urge to win but now knows how to do her drive.

Last January she became world champion cyclocross again after sixteen years. Marianne shows that nothing is impossible if you work hard, show resilience, listen to your gut and trust the process. Number 1 stage or not: to us, she’s always golden.

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