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Meet Team Israel: Vered Bouskila

A Sailor, A Lawyer, and A Bride To Be!

If sailing as a sport had, a bigger profile there is no doubt that Vered Bouskila would be a superstar. She is bubbly, charismatic and also a very talented sailor. She won the 420 yachting championship in 1998 at the age of 15. Partnering Nike Kornecki, they had a disappointing Olympics at Athens but then the two bounced back in Beijing finishing fourth. Kornecki has since retired. However Bouskila will be competing at London with Gil Cohen and they will be going for the gold!

When did you start in your sport?
I started sailing at the age of 9 in my hometown of Bat Yam. It happened when my coach, Ilan Basik Tashtash came to my school to give a talk.

How did your commitment to sports change your childhood?
I missed a lot of school trips and parties but I always felt like the coolest girl; the most unique and interesting so it never felt like I was paying a huge price. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence, independence and maturity.

What was it like to be a world champion at the age of 15?
It was one of my happiest moments of my life. I was so proud of myself, and so happy to hear “HaTikvah.” No doubt, it made me believe I can do anything and still today, it has an impact.

What is your first memory of the Olympics?
Finishing 18th place (out of 20) at my first Olympic Games in Athens broke my heart. I was broken.  The medal ceremony was my first memory of the Olympics. It was one of those moments when you just want to go to sleep and forget it ever happened.

When did you know you wanted to be in the Olympics?
After I won the world championship in 1998; I was sure about my future in the sport and I knew that one day I’d be there.

Who are your role models?
I don’t have a role model but I’m like a sponge. I try to take something from anyone I meet along the way, especially my family, coach, friends, competitors and other sportsmen/women.

You are going to be a 3 time Olympian – what do the Olympics mean to you?
It’s the best place to be. The best place to test your abilities and the best place to be as an ambassador of your country. It makes me proud and I feel honored and worthy.

How hard was it to combine high level sport and your studies?
Not as hard as it seems to people from the outside. It’s all about attitude. I took it as a break from sailing and enjoyed a lot; though I had to be very hard with myself during exams… it allowed me to open my mind to other things and other types of people.

Finishing 4th at Beijing is an unbelievable result, but how was it to finish so close to a medal?
I still think about it till today. I think it was an unbelievable result for us, we gave it our best and I think we just didn’t believe 100% that we deserve a medal. It was so close, that if I think about how much we missed it by I’ll go crazy. No doubt, it scares me a lot to lose by such a small margin again.

How is sailing with Gil different from sailing with Nike?
WOW that’s a very hard question to answer. I’ll just say that sailing with Gil is one of the biggest challenges of my life and it’s very different from my experience with Nike. My role is very different and the dynamics are different.

What was your biggest challenge prior to getting to the Olympics?
I don’t remember… ha ha… Don’t remember myself prior to the Olympics, but it was a huge challenge finishing law school, working in a law firm for two years and passing the bar.

Is there anything about sport in Israel that you wish you could fix?
Yes I do!! I wish we had more sponsors so we could make a living out of it, doing big campaigns and living it from all aspects.

Besides sailing, what sports at the Olympics do you enjoy watching?
Obviously anything that we have Israeli representation … I also love water sports and gymnastics.

Sport has given you many opportunities and experiences that otherwise you would never had experienced, what would you say to Israeli kids about sport and what it can offer them? Any advice?
Sport gave me the validation for all my hard work and it feels like I’m a member of the sexiest family in the world.

How has being an Olympian changed your life?

I can’t imagine my life without the Olympic Games in it. I feel like I have a gift and I’m so happy to be in this situation. I think that being an athlete is amazing, but anything you do with your heart and soul is good. I can only say, believe in yourself and dream. Don’t give up. Remember that from a victory, you can feel proud and happy, but from failure, you grow the most; so take it easy and remember its all part of the game!

What do you want to do post-sailing?
I don’t know exactly but I’ll start planning my wedding… so that’s exciting.

Vered, you are a Superstar! We will be watching and cheering you on as you go for the gold! And Mazal Tov on your engagement!

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