LUKE Patience’s hunger for Olympic glory in Rio hasn’t wavered despite Joe Glanfield’s surprise decision to retire with immediate effect.
Glanfield, 34, who claimed Olympic silver in Athens and Bei-jing, returned to the double-handed 470 class a year ago after a four-year break, teaming up with Portland’s 2012 silver medallist Patience in a bid to claim gold in the class in 2016.
The duo had a successful first year to their partnership, winning European Championship silver, a fifth place at their first World Championship together, and podium finishes at three other World Cup and international regattas.
But father-of-five Glanfield has found that the demands of a gold medal-winning campaign have led to compromises in his professional and family lives, and he is not prepared to give either less than the attention they deserve.
“As Luke and I sailed it became quite clear what we felt was required to win a gold in Rio, and I increasingly felt as though it was going to be difficult for me to do exactly what was required,” explained Glanfield.
“With both of us having won silver medals before, as soon as you start to get the feeling that you can’t do the campaign that’s needed to win a gold then it starts to become a bit pointless.
“For me once I saw a conflict between doing a gold medal-winning campaign and living the life I want to live with my family then it became clear to me that the answer was to stop now and allow Luke to get on with someone else.”
Scotsman Patience, equally has no regrets about his time sailing with Glanfield, but with the Olympic flame still burning, he will now set about finding the right new crew with whom to further his Rio gold medal-winning ambitions.
“We all do this for very specific individual reasons, and if one can’t reach a comfortable place for the reasons they were doing it then they cannot perform at their best,” said Patience.
“I completely understand Joe’s reasoning behind that – he felt like he couldn’t be at his best and that’s not okay for him. I totally understand and respect that.
“I feel sad for him that he’s departing the 470, but it’s the right decision for the right reasons.
“I’m still fully there in my head. I have a plan from here and an outcome that I would like to get to to carry on my path towards putting together a successful Olympic campaign.”
RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park said: “While it is disapointing to be losing someone of Joe’s calibre, his decision is entirely understandable in light of his family circumstances.
“We will now work to support Luke in finding the right crew to complement his talents to give Great Britain the best possible chance of gold at Rio 2016.”