It’s not because she aced it in the Olympics with one gold and two bronze medals and came from nowhere to be one of only three Norwegians who got three medals in Sochi. It is because of the qualities behind that, and the qualities that aren’t even reflected in her performance as a top athlete.
I knew she was capable of getting an Olympic medal. Last summer, during one of our coaching sessions, I started out “When you get a medal in the Olympics…”, she interrupted “Eh… my ambition is to get into the top 10”. I continued “When you get a medal in the Olympics…”, preparing her for what to come. To me she was obviously amazing.
Tiril Echoff is mentally much stronger than even Tiril herself thinks. But above all, she is smart. Not just intelligent, but acutely aware, able to adopt simple ideas to concrete results. Adding that she is studying engineering at the Norwegian Institute of Technology – although taking a break from her studies to bring a few trophies back home.
I asked her the simple question that so many top athletes struggle to answer, “What makes you so damn good at what you do?”. “I am smart”, she answered. She wasn’t in any way haughty or arrogant, just very honest. And she continued, “I am not the one to train the most, but I train smart – listening to my body, relaxing when I need to and doing my utmost when I can”. And she is honest about what helps her in life. Going through some rough spots has made her smarter and able to appreciate her top results even more. Tiril is very quick to learn – both from her mistakes and from her successes.
Even above all this, Tiril is a down-to-Earth and very empathetic girl. She’s light at heart and funny. And able to not give a fuck when it really matters.