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Morrison and Rhodes call time on 12-year 49er partnership

October 8, 2013 12:17 pm

Two-time Olympic sailing duo Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes will not bid for a 49er medal together at Rio 2016 after calling time on their 12-year partnership.

Since joining forces Morrison and Rhodes have been a force to be reckoned with in the 49er class, becoming world champions in 2007, a year after they won bronze in the same competition having also been crowned European champions.

The following year the British duo won world silver before going on to finish ninth at the Beijing Olympics before improving to fifth at London 2012.

However Rhodes admits that an 11th-place finish at the recent 49er World Championship in Marseille got them thinking that their partnership had reached its conclusion as they look to turn their attentions to exploring sailing campaigns outside of the Olympic classes.

“We’ve had a great run over many years but I think the result at the recent Worlds just cemented our thinking that our partnership had probably run its course,” the 32-year-old Rhodes said.

“The obvious high point for us was in 2007 – the year as a whole. I think we won pretty much every event we entered including the worlds so that was a real peak.

“There’s nothing better than when things are going well and you’re doing that with your best mate. As Bart [Simpson] and Iain [Percy] always used to say, it’s a pretty cool feeling and you think yourself pretty lucky.

“While we never achieved our ultimate goal of winning an Olympic medal, I think we gave it a pretty good go and I feel pretty proud of what we managed to achieve.”

The 34-year-old Morrison added: “Ben and I have sailed together for so long and have been successful almost across generations of 49er sailors managing to stay on top of our game, so we’ve shown pretty good adaptability and good teamship skills.

“After the worlds this year we had to look each other in the eye and look at ourselves in the mirror and say for whatever reason we’ve plateaued. 

“As hard as that is to say, equally you’ve got to look back and say that we were the best in the world for a while, and not many people get to say that.  

“We’ve had a really good career as a team but it’s time to move on and try exploring different avenues.”

© Sportsbeat 2013