Sailors Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes recently announced their split. Now, Morrison reminisces about the past 11 years of their partnership.
Well we are older now. We have had ups and downs, but like any good roller coaster it comes to an end and the lights go off.
For the last 11 years I have had the absolute privilege of chasing a dream with my best mate. I... am not sure exactly what I want to put here, but I would like to express the massive honour it's been to sail (we call it work, but no one listens) with Rodent.
Don't get me wrong, in the early days, where we would try and share out the jobs, things weren't always perfect. Ben taking navigation as his special skill would prove eventful. Nowadays, of course, he comes across as the real 'Sir Ranolph Rodent' the great adventurer. Back then I was sat in my shorts in the South of France slowly climbing the Pyrenees with a boat on the back. At which point a confused navigator announces 'I ticked the box that said yes to mountain passes'...
We made it from the days of 'all day breakfast in a can' to eating in the Virgin First Class lounge, when flying off to regattas around the world.
The road to the top, I guess, is kind of the easy part. You work hard, you get better, your results improve, your confidence grows. You enjoy it, and suddenly you're the best in the world. In our time we have won a medal of every colour at the World Championship, including winning the ISAF Worlds in 2007. We finished in the top 10 at the worlds eight times. And for a time we were World, European and Pre-Olympic Champions. We raced and sometimes beat some of the world’s best, occasionally even lapped them...
The goal, however, has always been to win the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games. In China our sailing world fell apart. I think at times like these you learn a lot more about yourself and your team than you will ever learn winning. Over time we came back, if slowly. Never was a word of blame suggested or even thought. I believe we were the true team. In it together, come what may. A minor injury during training in Palma meant that through the next few years Ben had to put it all on the line with several little operations on his foot, repeatedly fighting his way back to world class fitness.
The honour of racing in London 2012 will, I think, when we are older and (hopefully for Ben) grey, be the real highlight. We once again failed in the ultimate mission, but this time we came away with no doubt knowing we had done everything, and in fact 90% of the time we had been good enough.
Over the time there is no doubt that without his good humour, ability to never accept anything as good enough, and a single minded determination, I wouldn't have achieved what I have today. To have lived the dream and achieved so much is something we can never do anything but smile about, and we will never probably really realise how true it was when Sparky would bang on about these being the times of our lives.
Of course we wouldn't have achieved what we have without the support of our friends, family and sponsors as well as of course several long suffering coaches. I thank you all. A decade in the sun would seem a risky under taking with a firey red head like Rodent, and ultimately it would be easy to look at it as a bit of a failure when set against the ultimate goal. If that's the case, it was a hugely successful failure, and a true honour to be on your team...
The future is going to be great, but right now I am taking five to appreciate what's happened so far.
British Sailing Team website
by Stevie Morrison
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10:37 PM Thu 17 Oct 2013GMT
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