Now the hard work really begins for the Team Volvo supported Olympic sailors following today's (Tuesday 20 September) announcement that all eight Team Volvo sailors have been selected to represent Great Britain at London 2012.
Experienced Olympians Ben Ainslie, Nick Dempsey and partners Paul Goodison and Saskia Clark will once again fly the flag for Britain at their home Games next year, while Hannah Mills, Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor will make their Olympic debuts.
Sailing is the first sport to have athletes formally selected by the British Olympic Association (BOA) for London 2012. Team Volvo member and triple Olympic champion Ainslie's selection means he is set to be the only Brit competing for a fourth gold medal at consecutive Games'. Ainslie said: "Having my selection for 2012 confirmed is a big relief. Now it's all about getting the plans right for my fitness and preparation to peak at the Olympics."
Goodison, Olympic Gold medallist at Beijing in 2008 and boyfriend of Saskia Clark, said "It was a big relief when I got the call. This has been by far the hardest trials I have had since Ben (Ainslie) was selected ahead of me for Sydney 2000. But it was only complete when Saskia rang to tell me that she'd been selected aswell."
Dempsey went to his first Olympics when he was 19 and won his first medal, Bronze, in Athens in 2004. Nick, commenting on the debutants, said: "When it is your first Olympics you have to try to think of it as just another sailing event. There is so much experience and advice available to draw on amongst the British team."
Clark and Mills, who have only been sailing partners since February 2011, got the call-up to represent Team GB early-on on 'Big Thursday' as it became know. Mills said "After the call I literally couldn't take it in that we were selected, it took about half an hour to sink in. I still haven't really come down off cloud nine yet."
Lucy and Kate Macgregor will make history when they take to the start line at London 2012, becoming the first British sisters to compete in sailing at the same Games.
Lucy said: "To be in Weymouth next summer competing on home waters for an Olympic medal will be a very special couple of weeks. Also to be sharing it with one of my best friends and my sister makes it even more exciting."
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