To London 2012 the hard way

Right to left: Nick Rogers, Nathan Wilmot and Chris Grube
James Boyd Photography /
Right to left: Nick Rogers, Nathan Wilmot and Chris Grube
Nick Rogers on his return to 470 Olympic campaigns but without lottery backing
Once upon a time (before 1994 in fact) there was no National Lottery in the UK and the resulting grants that leading British sportsmen and arts bodies regularly receive via the Foundation for Sports and Arts today, were but a pipedream. Pre-Lottery Olympic sailing campaigns were principally Corinthian affairs with individual sailors self-funding their efforts by mortgaging houses, asset-stripping friends and relatives, etc. It was a different world. But sadly it is back in this self-funding situation that Nick Rogers, the 470 silver medallist at both the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games, currently finds himself. Having scored his two Olympic gongs and then splitting with his crew Joe Glanfield post-Beijing, Rogers teamed up with Pom Green but over the 2009 and 2010 seasons rarely found his previous form. Early last season Rogers, now 33, shifted into coaching and it seemed the days of his Olympic campaigning as a sailor were at an end... But in December Rogers received a call from Chris Grube (aka Twiggy) asking him to reconsider. So what swung him? “The first day I sailed with Twiggy. Twiggy asked me to come back and go sailing. Unfortunately I’d just sold my boat, so it was bad timing and that wasted about £10,000 or actually quite a bit more than that. And then I realised it was doable. “Twiggy was sailing with Phil Sparks and they weren’t really getting anywhere, so he needed a change, stop sailing or not, and I’d given up. I’d done a lot of coaching and there were a lot of things I’d seen that I thought how different it was to the campaign that I was leading before. I’d been sailing with Pom and I learned a lot with him and we did a lot of good things, but from inside the campaign it looked very different.