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Bromby and White in bid for fifth Olympics

Having decided that their desire to compete burns just as brightly as it ever did, Peter Bromby and Lee White will take their bid to qualify Bermuda for a fifth Olympic Games to the other side of the world later this year.

The pair took a break from racing after the disappointment of not making the 2008 Games in China and left it late before deciding whether to get back on to the water this time around.

Their decision to return, however, has already started to pay dividends with an eighth-placed finish at the Bacardi Cup in Miami last week, alongside the same finish at the Miami Rolex Olympic Class Regatta in January, seeing the pair meet the Bermuda Sailing Association's required standard.

Now all they need to do is grab one of the 15 places available for the Star Class event at the 2012 Olympics. To do that, they must compete at the ISAF World Championships in Australia in December, where 12 of those places will be up for grabs.

The pair are cutting it a bit fine if they are to get up to speed. Partly due to their failure in 2008, and partly an economic decision, Bromby said the realities of their situation led them to accept that this time around they would have to get ready to qualify over a shorter period of time.

“We basically, Lee and I, came out of the last campaign very disappointed in the fact that we didn't qualify to go to the Games (in 2008). We just had a horrendous qualifying regatta and didn't qualify the country,” said Bromby.

“After that we said ‘let's put it down for a little while and see how we feel. If the fire's still in our belly'. There were a number of things that went into that decision, one of which was the economics.

“The cost of this (competing), obviously, as you can imagine, it's very costly. For us it was a question of ‘could we sustain a four-year effort financially'?, knowing that every boardroom in Bermuda that has previously supported us, may see us in a different light.

“When we came out of Australia (2000) having finished fourth in the Olympics, we turned away two sponsors.

“Those are the realities (of our situation, (this time) we felt we had to buckle down, do some work, and be able to do an abbreviated effort and hope that the world economy turned around to the point that finding a sponsor was realistic.

“It's very difficult to explain to board members and employees why they should support us to compete at the Olympics when they can't give someone a raise. Those are the times that we are living in. We have a budget that we have to stay within. If we were fortunate enough to find a sponsor we could possibly do more events and be better prepared come 2012.”

Having met the local standard, Bromby and White can qualify for elite athlete status, but given the drop in the Bermuda Olympic Association's budget, any help from that source is likely to be limited.

“Elite athlete funding doesn't mean the Olympic Association has to give you anything,” said Bromby. ”They're now faced with having to feed the 5000 with two fish and five loaves of bread, when their budget gets cut in half now there's only one fish and two loaves of bread.”

Even if the economy hadn't been in such bad shape, Bromby said he wouldn't have returned for a crack at a fifth Olympics if White had decided against it.

“For me, a lot of it depends on Lee, there aren't many people I can do this with,” said Bromby. “The role Lee plays is pivotal. To be quite honest if Lee would have said ‘can't go this time', there wouldn't be a this time.

“That's how much I value his ability and the role he plays in the boat, he's strong in just about every weakness that I have. That's part of what makes us a good team.”

The pair hope to sail at two regattas in England this summer, in June and August, as part of their preparations for the World Championships in Perth in December.

“Our plans are not cast in stone, but we're certainly planning on being part of the 2012 Olympics,” said Bromby. “Right now, we are planning on going to England to take part in two regattas in the summer, that are happening on the Olympic venue.

“Then, if you're serious about qualifying there are two opportunities to do so. The first one is in Perth, Australia, the remaining three or four spots will be allocated in May at the World Championships.”

Bermuda pair Peter Bromby (left) and Lee White (right) still have the desire to qualify for next year's Olympic Games in London. The duo finished eighth last week at the Bacardi Cup in Miami.

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Published March 16, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated March 16, 2011 at 10:04 am)

Bromby and White in bid for fifth Olympics

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