This is the second time he has received the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, after also receiving funding for his Athens 2004 Olympic campaign. 'As a second time recipient of this scholarship, I appreciate how valuable it is to our training and preparation for qualifying for the next Olympics,' he explains.
Following 13th and 19th places at the Atlanta and Barcelona Games respectively, BROMBY's Olympic near miss came in 2000. On the waters of Sydney Harbour, he and crew Lee WHITE finished six points off bronze medallists Torben GRAEL and Marcelo FERREIRA (BRA) and just 11 behind eventual champions Mark REYNOLDS and Magnus LILJEDAHL (USA).
After their bittersweet success in Sydney and with Olympic Solidarity support, going into the Athens Olympic Games BROMBY and WHITE were amongst the favourites. Their odds shortened even further with wins at both the SPA Regatta and Kiel Week in the months leading up to the regatta, but their Olympic hopes took a severe dent right at the start of racing. They were never able to recover from a 17,16 start on day one and despite improving through the series never got back into medal contention. They were able to demonstrate their ability with a very strong finish, highlighted by a bullet in race 9 on the day of BROMBY's 40th birthday.
Following on from Athens, BROMBY decided to spend some time away from the race course, 'I took a year and a half off from competitive racing to get back to full time work and spending time at home with my family,' he explains.
A Fresh Start
From a ISAF World Sailing Ranking of #3 going into Athens, BROMBY fell right back to #139 before returning to the racing at the end of last year. After three Olympic campaigns with WHITE, BROMBY teamed up with a new crew for Beijing, Bill MCNIVEN. Their first event together ended with a very promising top ten finish at the ISAF Grade C1 Star North Americans late last year, whilst 2007 started with an inconsistent performance ending with a 16th overall at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR.
Seventh at the Bacardi Cup was a major step up in performance. In their most recent regatta, the ISAF Grade C1 Star Western Hemisphere Championship in Tampa Bay, BROMBY and MCNIVEN posted their best result to date, scoring two bullets on the way to second place behind Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE).
'We are working hard to improve upon our team work and boat handling skills,'
says BROMBY on his new partnership. 'This means we'll have to get to as many regattas as possible in both the US and in Europe this summer. We have had several top ten finishes already this year and hope to continue to improve and peak at the World Championships, our 2007 Olympic qualifier, in Cascais this summer.'
With the ISAF Sailing World Championships from 28 June-13 July, BROMBY and MCNIVEN have just two and a half months to ready themselves for the battle for the World title and Olympic qualification in Cascais, Portugal. With time in short supply, the quality of their preparations becomes paramount and it is here that the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship gives them the capability to compete at the very highest level.
'The funds which we receive from the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship will be used for both travel costs and coaching costs,' says BROMBY. 'We simply could not afford to hire a coach without this assistance and, whilst I have competed in four Olympic Games, it is still just as important for us to have a coach now as it was 15 years ago.'
With four Olympic Games behind him, BROMBY is one of the most experienced sailors aiming to make the start line in Qingdao in little over a year's time. With a new crew and the support of the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship behind him, he is setting his sights on making his fifth Olympic appearance the most memorable to date and giving Bermuda its first ever Olympic sailing medal.
Twenty sailors have been selected for Olympic Solidarity scholarships for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Find out more at www.sailing.org/olympicsolidarity.