Percy's pride: Emsworth sailor among first confirmed for GB team for 2012 Olympics
Emsworth's Iain Percy has 2012 Olympics glory in his sights after being named as one of the first confirmed GB competitors for the next year's Games.
He is in a line-up of 11 sailors revealed by the British Olympic Association as being on the startline at Weymouth and Portland for the sailing events.
Sailing is the first of the 26 Olympic sports to have officially selected any of its athletes, with the line-up revealed at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, competing across seven of the ten Olympic classes and representing a mix of established Olympic medallists and first-time Olympians.
While Ben Ainslie, 34, is probably the biggest name, having earned the right to race for his fourth Olympic gold in 2012, gaining selection in the heavyweight Finn dinghy event, Percy will aim for a third gold in total and a second in partnership with best pal Andrew Simpson in the Star class, in which the pair won the Olympic title in Beijing.
Percy, who hails from Winchester but now lives in Emsworth, said: “That’s the first hurdle over, but really ever since Beijing we’ve been focussing on July 29, 2012, and all the hard work over the past few years has been to make sure we’re in the best possible shape come that day.
“I’m really proud to be representing Team GB at my fourth Olympics. It’s every athlete’s dream to win an Olympic medal at home – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we’ll be giving it our all to be up there on the podium again next year.”
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt commented: “This announcement is a key milestone and an exciting and important moment for us - it represents the beginning of the creation of Team GB.
“There is certainly some fierce competition within sailing and there are no free passes to compete for Team GB in any sport in London 2012.”
RYA Olympic manager and Team GB sailing team leader Stephen Park added: “We’re delighted to be announcing the first sailing members of Team GB. All those selected have had a fantastic year which has resulted in them gaining selection at an early opportunity.”