The battle for Laser supremacy

Photos: Skandia Team GBR
British ace Nick Thompson tells of his campaign for Rio 2016
One sailor per nation per class – at the Olympic Games this rule ensures the limited spaces available in sailing are spread between as many nations as possible. But as has been pointed out many times before, the price is that the Olympics becomes not a competition between the best sailors in the world, just a selection of them. Without this limitation for example Giles Scott and several other British Finn sailors would have taken part in the Games in addition to Sir Ben. Another who certainly would have made the cut is British Laser sailor Nick Thompson. Over the course of the last Olympic cycle Thompson appeared to be overhauling Paul Goodison in the quest to become Britain’s Laser representative at London 2012. Coming in hot from claiming Gold medal in Beijing, Goodison was World Champion in 2009 (when Thompson was also on the podium in third). But in 2010, when the Laser Worlds were in Hayling Island, Thompson came home second to Goodison’s ninth and the result was similar at Perth 2011 when the younger sailor was second overall and Goodison fifth. Given Goodison’s unfortunate injury at London 2012, one wonders if the selectors sent the right man? Setting out on the next Olympic cycle the landscape among the Britain's Laser elite appears unchanged with both Goodison and Thompson campaigning again. Both are older and wiser, Thompon 27 while Goodison is now 35, and will be approaching 40 by the time Rio comes around. “It is very tough to devote yourself to the Laser for another four years,” admits Thompson. “It is a very physical boat and there is no doubt that Goody is getting older and finding it harder. So there is that doubt in his mind and then finding the motivation to do it again - it is