Ben Rhodes - Sailing

Our local Olympians: Ben Rhodes - Sailing

Our local Olympians: Ben Rhodes - Sailing

First published in Sport

Southampton -born Ben Rhodes is hoping to erase the disappointment of Beijing when he competes at London 2012.

The 49er sailor, who partners Steve Morrison, finished in a below-par ninth place on his Olympic debut, despite having arrived in China as one of the event’s medal favourites.

Rhodes, 31, and Eastbourne’s Morrison had recorded podium finishes in each of the three world championships leading up to Beijing 2008.

The highlight was a gold in 2007, sandwiched in between bronze and silver performances.

But they could not recapture that form in the waters of Qingdao and ended up way down the fleet.

They fared better in the 2009 world championships, but frustratingly missed out on a medal when they finished fourth.

A year later, they slipped down to seventh, while they had to withdraw from the 2011 event when Rhodes suffered a rib strain midway through the competition.

There were encouraging signs at last year’s Sail for Gold regatta, though, as the duo powered to a bronze medal against world class opposition in the Olympic waters off Dorset.

A fourth place followed at the same venue in the test event for London 2012, before they recorded the same result at Sail for Gold earlier this year.

Their experience together – Rhodes and Morrison have sailed with or against each other for 20 years – combined with their consistent performances on the waters at Weymouth proved enough to get them the nod from the Royal Yachting Association selectors.

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