The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today named the final three sailors officially selected to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Stevie Morrison (born Eastbourne, lives Exmouth) and Ben Rhodes (born Southampton, lives Exmouth) will compete in the 49er class, while Alison Young (born Wolverhampton, lives Portland) will represent Team GB in the Laser Radial event. The addition of these three athletes completes the selection of a full complement of 16 sailors to compete across all ten events on the Olympic sailing programme at Weymouth and Portland this summer.
Morrison and Rhodes have been sailing together since 2001 and have both World and European titles to their names. They will be competing at their second Games, having made their Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago. Young, 24, will make her Olympic debut this summer after demonstrating great progression at senior level since winning a bronze medal at the ISAF World Youth Championships in 2005.
British sailors have established a proud tradition of excellence in Olympic competition, having won 50 medals – including 25 gold, the most of any nation – since sailing made its debut in the Olympic Games in 1900 in Paris.
The addition of the sailors brings the total number of athletes officially selected to Team GB for London 2012 to 79 across six disciplines: athletics – marathon, boxing, canoe slalom, sailing, swimming and synchronised swimming.
The athletes were formally nominated to the BOA for selection to Team GB by the Royal Yachting Association, the National Governing Body for sailing in the UK.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“As the most successful sailing nation in Olympic history it is very exciting to have now selected a full squad of 16 sailors to compete for Team GB across all 10 medal events at the London 2012 Olympics. We welcome Stevie, Ben and Alison to One Team GB and look forward to supporting them to produce their very best performance when it counts most this summer at the fantastic Weymouth and Portland sailing venue.”
Sailing Team Leader Stephen Park said:
“Stevie and Ben are obviously past Olympians and they have been World Championship medallists. They were unfortunate at the World Championship in Perth that through injury they weren’t able to take part. They had a great Sail for Gold Regatta on the Olympic field last summer where they medalled, and they just missed out on the medals at the Olympic Test Event. We’re confident that with the experience they’ve got and a home venue track record, they’ll be able to pull it all together and really deliver when it counts.
“With Ali Young in the Laser Radial it was a tough decision, as they all are, but as she’s been the more consistent of our performers across the trials events. Certainly in the stronger wind events she’s one of the fastest and most consistent sailors in the world and that didn’t go unnoticed by the Selection Committee. Again we wanted to give Ali the confidence of a selection at this stage so that she and her coach Hugh Styles can really begin to focus on the Games and build her game and her focus on the local venue.
“We’ve now got 13 teams in the 13 events – Olympic and Paralympic – and as we go into the Games, I can honestly say hand on heart that we’ve got people who’ve got potential to medal in every single event – we’ve never had that before. That doesn’t mean to say that we’ll medal in every event – far from it – but in terms of preparing a good team the sailors have done an incredible job to date. Having teams selected at this stage provides us with an opportunity for them to pull together to bond as a group and really allow that to add an extra dimension to their preparation in the last weeks up until the Games.”
Stevie Morrison said:
“We’re really happy of course - it’s a massive honour to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games, and even more so for a home Olympics.
“It does feel very different this time to four years ago – we were one of the first teams to be selected for Beijing and back then we felt like we kicked the doors down and left the selectors no scope to do anything other than select us. That led to a lot of expectation going into the Games and probably pressure on ourselves that we didn’t realise at the time was there.
“This time around the things have been very different – the trials have been a lot closer but we always believed that we were the best team to deliver gold in Weymouth in 2012 and our track record in the venue over recent years supports that. We’ve learnt a lot about our sailing, about the Olympics and about ourselves since Beijing which we feel will put us in much better place to do the business at these Games.”
Ben Rhodes said:
“We’re massively psyched – it’s a privilege to be selected for Team GB and for us it’s a huge chance to try and put right the mistakes we made in China. That’s what we’ve been motivated by for the past four years – we don’t want to go through that disappointment again.
“Selection at this stage is fantastic. We have a huge level of competition in the British 49er fleet, but gaining selection now will allow us to take advantage of the all opportunities that we have of it being a home Games. We’ve always carried out our programme and the things we need to work on as though we had been selected – I think that’s the only way you can really go about it so for us while selection is great, it’s still business as usual.”
Alison Young said:
“I was pretty stunned when I found out, but it’s pretty cool to be selected for an Olympic Games, and for a home Games it’s even more exciting. There’s a lot of experience on the team, and a lot of knowledge so hopefully I’ll be able to tap into some of that experience to help me at my first Games.
“There’s a lot of work to do now that I’ve been selected to push to get into the medals, and that’s what I’m aiming to do, so that I can put in the best result I can. My strengths have always been in the breeze, mostly down to my fitness and now technique as well, but my light wind game is developing and my decision-making is developing as well so I’ll keep pushing those forward and hopefully the hard work in those areas will keep moving me onwards and upwards ready for the summer.”