The fight for Laser gold

James Boyd Photography /
Beijing Laser Gold medallist Paul Goodison on the fight to beat Tom Slingsby
One of Team GBR’s prospects for claiming a gold medal at London 2012 this August is Paul Goodison. The ginger lad from Rotherham, Yorkshire, now 34 (the same age as Ben Ainslie), famously won the Gold medal in the Laser at Beijing and followed this up with a World Championship win in Canada in 2009. However since then few would question that it is not Goodison but his Australian rival Tom Slingsby who has been dominating the Laser class to an Ainslie/Scheidt degree of relentlessness. Slingsby has won the last two World Championships, in 2010 in Hayling Island (where Goodison was a disappointing 9th) and last December in Perth (where our man ended up fifth), and is ranked by ISAF as number one in the World, while Goodison is 7th. But keen observers will also remember, that going into Beijing, Slingsby was in a similar dominant position, having won the two World Championships only to bomb at the Games, where he ended up 22nd. Goodison’s bronze at Skandia Sail for Gold last year (behind Slingsby and New Zealand’s Andrew Murdoch) was enough for him to get his London 2012 berth ahead of his talented rival Nick Thompson and one gets the impression that Goodison is keen not to repeat his build-up to Athens in 2004 when he seemed to peak too soon before the Games – a lesson he seemed to have successfully achieved going into Beijing. “For me in the past it was all about winning medals that gave me confidence and I think I showed in the Athens cycle...running up to Athens I had medalled in every regatta I had done that year, but not at the important one,” says Goodison. “Whereas running up to China I very much used regattas as more for training and targeted regattas and that worked