Exclusive: Olympic rivals Goodison and Slingsby had “heated row in pub” after pre-London 2012 warm-up
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
June 13 - Britain's Olympic Laser sailing champion Paul Goodison had a stand-up row in the pub with his major London 2012 rival Tom Slingsby the evening after last Saturday's (June 9) controversial medal race at the Skandia Sail for Gold event on the Olympic course at Weymouth.
Goodison, who complained bitterly after just missing out on a medal that Slingsby, the 27-year-old current world champion, and his fellow Australian Tom Burton had worked as a team to frustrate him, adding "he won't have his mates out there to help him next time", told insidethegames that he had made his fully feelings known to his fellow competitor.
"We met each other in the pub and had a quite heated argument on the evening after the medal race," said the 34-year-old from Rotherham, who won the world title the year after his Olympic victory and was among British sailors attending the Sail for Gold dinner here.
""We were both there, and I guess it needed to be said between us.
"It was good to get thoughts out in the open and to have it out.
"We both understand each other are big threats at the Games.
"We did used to be best mates and get on really well, and things have slid, I guess, a little bit away from that as we get closer to the Games.
"But it is that you want to beat everybody, and sometimes that means that you've got to step away from a friendship to get the most out of yourself."
Slingsby (pictured) had gone into the final position in gold medal position, but Goodison, in fifth place, had a chance of silver as he trailed the Australian by a boat's length, well clear of the chasing field.
But then Slingsby covered Goodison, blocking him and slowing him down, and kept it up for the rest of the race, leaving the Briton vulnerable to the pack behind.
As the wind pushed the fleet together on the final run Burton and Philipp Buhl of Germany slid past on the line to take silver and bronze respectively, with Goodison having to settle for fourth place in his last competitive outing before the Games, where there is only one competitor per nation at each event.
Goodison accepted that "covering" is "definitely part of the game," but added: "The incident last week wasn't really part of the game, though.
"The guy that was realistically closest to beating him overall was 400 metres behind.
"What he did was to make sure that his Australian mate got as close as he could to attack me at the end.
"It's a bit frustrating.
"There's two boats who are a long way in front, and if we'd finished in that order he would have won the gold medal and I would have won the silver.
"So by slowing down until the pack catches up is not really going to affect his result, but it could end up affecting mine.
"And unfortunately I made a mistake on the last bit that allowed the two guys closest to me to go past in the last 20 metres.
"It was frustrating because it was my mistake.
"I know we are big rivals, but it's going to come down to a competition in August, so this was a little bit early to start ramping that up, which frustrated me quite a lot.
"Looking back that did me quite well because I went straight into the gym afterwards, and I'm still a bit sore from it!
"If you are doing what you have to do to win, that's acceptable.
"If you are doing something that is going to influence people, the other guys, without affecting you at all, that's probably out of order.
"He looked at it in a different light, that if one boat gets past him then he might start slipping back, and that's why he's argued he was defending so hard against me.
"We agreed to disagree on that.
"I think when it comes to match racing at the Olympics, you want everyone on your side.
"You don't don't want any enemies."