Having become the first woman ever to represent Denmark in judo at an Olympic Games, and as the only Danish ‘judoka’ to have won a World Championship medal, Lærke is a true trailblazer. Her talent and determination to succeed no matter the odds impressed our colleagues during the selection process for BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope 2021.

When asked to describe what winning BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope award means to her, Lærke is almost more focused on what it could mean for her sport – judo – than what she will get out of it personally. This reflects her willingness to give back to a sport and community that has given her so much.

“BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope means a lot for me as an athlete but it also means a lot for my sport itself. In Denmark, judo is a small sport but I hope that this award can get the younger generation to dream big and go after their goals no matter how big they might be. I also hope that it will make more people aware of the sport,” Lærke says.

In my youth, I was inspired by athletes from abroad, and I hope that by winning this award, I can be the role model for younger Danish athletes that I don’t necessarily feel I had myself."

Lærke is the 13th winner of BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope, which is presented each year as part of our long-standing partnership with Danmarks Idrætsforbund (DIF – the Danish Olympic Committee). BESTSELLER has proudly designed and delivered official uniforms to Denmark’s athletes for the past four Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We value talent highly in BESTSELLER and it’s always exciting to follow young people that go after their dreams. That is the inspiration behind BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope and that’s why we’re looking forward to supporting Lærke and following her, as she chases another Olympic ticket in the coming years,” says Anders Gam, who is Brand Director at JACK & JONES and responsible for BESTSELLER’s partnership with DIF.

Drought breaker

Lærke made her Olympic Games debut in Tokyo last year, becoming just the second Dane to compete in judo at that level, and the first in 33 years.

Having had a taste of the quadrennial sporting event in the alternate reality of COVID-19, the 23-year-old is even more motivated to qualify again when the show goes to Paris in three years’ time.

“I have been working my way back from an injury over the past few months, and now that I’m fit it’s all about getting ready for Olympic qualification for Paris 2024, which will already get underway in June,” Lærke says.

In connection with her new title as BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope, Lærke also wins DKK 100,000, including a clothing sponsorship of DKK 25,000. The remaining funds will go towards Lærke’s not-insignificant travel costs, as she often heads abroad for training camps to secure the best-possible preparation.

“On top of that, the money will help make my daily routine more professional and leave me with less things to worry about because I will know that the financial side of things is under control. This will help me focus on training and tournaments, which will give me some piece of mind,” Lærke explains.

“I was very confused”

On Friday, Lærke will be officially presented as BESTSELLER’s Olympic Hope during Sport 2021 – a televised awards show that will be aired on Denmark’s national broadcaster DR1.

She was recently surprised by a well-known Danish athlete and film crew, who presented her with the award.

“I was very surprised and really hadn’t expected it,” Lærke says.

“So I was very confused when my family and friends came in, but of course very happy too.”