I had the good fortune recently to meet with South African Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk, a Richard Mille brand ambassador, and world record-setting medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He took the title in the 400 meter races. He did wearing a Richard Mille watch. We spent some time together in Chantilly France to talk about his win and the role time plays in his life.
Q: How did it feel to win in Rio?
WvN: “To me, it was extremely humbling; it was a blessed feeling because of all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices you put in to it for years, just building up to this and to get to go away with a gold metal and a world record both at once is humbling. I am grateful I got to experience God’s grace in my life. It was also exciting because it was South Africa’s first gold medal of that Olympics and it was a great honor to represent the country in such a positive light. I always knew I wanted to be as sports star; I was in love with all sports as a kid. My parents would find me always on the field playing with family and friends and it was difficult to pull me away. There was no way I was going to do anything else in my life. So this accomplishment was really special.”
Q: How does time factor in?
WvN: “Time plays a very important role. To me, time is something you need to respect; that’s how I grew up and what I learned over the years. You need to respect it and use it as though it is the most precious thing in the world, because it is. As an athlete, time gives you confidence; it makes you or breaks you. The faster you run, the better you do and the more confidence you build. Also, once you let time slip away, you can’t get it back again and so you need to really embrace it.”
For more details on this interview, please visit our article on Haute Time.com.