Mary Rook's Rio 2016 Olympic sailing dream inspired by friends' glory
A sailor from Lopen who has earned herself a place in Team GB’s eight-woman sailing squad says she is determined to be the best in the world.
Mary Rook, 26, watched as her childhood friends and sailing partners Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell took silver medals in the 470 class at London 2012.
She says this has driven her to claim what she believe can be hers at the next Olympics in Rio in 2016.
Rook attended Haselbury Plucknett First School, Maiden Beech Middle School and Wadham Community School in Crewkerne. She gained a degree in sport science at Exeter University.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
She has now swapped the dark and snow of Lopen, near Crewkerne, for the sun and sea of Murcia in Spain for arduous training.
The Western Gazette caught up with her on a recent visit home. She said: “I am trying to be the best in the world and I am excited to have a wonderful opportunity to prove that I can be.”
Rook has spent the past year sailing skiffs, which are a new women’s boat for the next Olympics.
They are similar to the fast 49ers sailed by men, but have a slightly smaller rig and are called 49FXs.
The crew of Rook, Charlotte Dobson, Penny Clark, Frances Peters, Kate Macgregor, Katrina Best, Nicola Groves and Sophie Ainsworth are currently in training and trying to find the best team combinations.
Rook said: “We have had to learn how to sail a new boat which is completely different, in the old boats you had to be strong but you were pretty stationary.
“But with the new ones you are running around and doing stuff really quickly. It is the best boat to sail and is a lot of fun but there has been lots of capsizing in training.
“The Olympics has always been a dream, I was involved with Team GB during London 2012 and I knew all the people. It was great to see my friends collect medals, but at the same time I was thinking “that can be me”.”
Rook’s mum, Pauline, said: “Mary was previously in the women’s match racing team and was part of the team which won the World Championships a couple of years back, which was fantastic.
“She was good enough to have gone to the Olympics but she made a wrong choice of sailing team two years before.
“It was very distressing but it left her with a huge appetite for sailing at that level and she does have a great talent.
“Mary expects to be away a lot this year but the biggest challenge is to stay injury free.”
The sailing competition season starts in Palma at the end of March and Mary will also be sailing in Portland in June at the UK World Class Regatta.
For more information visit www.maryrook.com.