Summer 2024

Jo van de Winkel, South Africa, discusses cycling and motivation

South African Jo van de Winkel (middle), women’s cycling, finished 28th in the women’s cycling road race. She has been on some of the most successful teams in South Africa.

Q. How do you keep motivated?
A. You have to keep motivated. It’s hard for us because we come to Europe and a six-month season here, and we go back to South Africa and the summer season starts there. So, you have to take breaks along the way to keep your motivation and your mind fresh for the races. My faith has also played a role in that and just trusting in God and knowing that He’ll get you through the tough times and setting goals for yourself on the way and believing in yourself that you can get there and He can help you through any difficult times you have and stay motivated and positive.

Q. In Europe, mixing with the women and men in the cycling world, not many of them have a particular strong faith. I don’t know, perhaps they do, how have you found it?
A. I found Europe, they don’t have such a strong faith, which I found South Africa people, there’s more people that have stronger people than a lot of the Europeans, which is also an opportunity for us to bring that faith to Europe and to show the Europeans that it does make a difference.

Q. How does it on a day-by-day basis affect you? How does it help you in relating to people who don’t know God? 
A. I think it has especially helped me through hard times and even like the stress or the pressure of racing that I know that I’m not depending on myself completely, if there’s a lot of stress leading up to an important event, I can almost give it over to God and put it in His hands. Just helps relax an athlete as well, I think in terms of the big competitions and the pressure and stress of it, and also if you have injuries and it can be God’s plan and it can grow you in other ways. It’s not the end of the world. You can see the positives even in the tough times. And that helps me get through difficult times and reach higher, reach for what He has planned for my life.

Q. Husband back in South Africa?
A. That is also difficult and we speak a lot over skype and worked in other ways to build up our marriage. Our faith also helps with that and we try to grow.

Q. Husband got her into cycling?
A. I got motivated to do well in everything I do, and I didn’t want to let the boys beat me, and so at first it was just keeping up with him and then I got into racing that way and it’s all…

Q. Favorite Scripture?
A. Yes, actually when I was quite young, I used to get really stressed, because I wanted to always get the top marks, my mom always used to go over the verse, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ from Philippians 4:13, so that’s one that’s stuck with me through most of my life which has helped me.