British Sailing Duo Breaks Up Ahead of 2016 Rio Games
The British sailing pair of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell has decided to break up the partnership that won a silver medal at the London Olympics and go on separate ways as they pursue success at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
The two just fell short of the men's 470 gold in their first Olympic stint. After that, the two vowed to upgrade their silver medal together in Rio de Janeiro.
However, Patience said light winds anticipated for Rio will make things difficult for them to sail together competitively, thus leading to the decision to part ways.
"We've always been one of the heavier 470 teams on the circuit, and even with a four-year-long rabbit food diet, we're still going to be naturally too heavy as a crew to realistically be threatening for gold in Rio," Patience said.
"We both knew it would be an issue and so it really was a no-brainer that we would need to do something differently if we're to get onto that top step of the podium in four years' time," he added.
While the decision is hard to take, Bithell said it was the right thing to do for their careers and for their upcoming Olympic campaign as well.
"We're good mates and we both want that for each other, so although it's been a blast and I'll miss sailing with Luke, we know it's the right decision to take," Bithell said.
Bithell will start a campaign as skipper in the high-performance 49er class, with his new crew set to be announced next year. Patience is sticking with 470 class and is weighing up his options ahead of Rio.
"Stuart and I have had an amazing journey, and I'm so proud to have stood on the podium with my mate this summer," Patience said.
"Although we won't be sailing together towards Rio, we're both so excited about the road ahead and want to thank everyone who's backed us," he added.
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