Andrew Simpson backed for one last sailing gold medal bid at 2012 Olympic Games
ANDREW Simpson has long been at the top of Star sailing, but London 2012 teammate Nick Dempsey is adamant he has one final gold push in his locker this summer.
With European, world and a 2008 Olympic Star title in his impressive collection, 35-year-old Simpson of Sherborne heads into this summer's home Games as one of Britain's top medal hopes alongside partner Iain Percy.
And this medal tally is made all the more impressive considering he only came across to the Star class in 2007, having previously finished on the podium at European and World Championships in the Finn.
However, never before has Simpson and Percy's Star dominance been under as much threat as it is right now, Brazilian silver medallists from Beijing Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada having won the world title in May as well as last year's Olympic test event.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
But Dempsey, who himself claimed Olympic windsurfing bronze in 2004, is adamant Simpson's experience will see him retain his Star crown this summer, in what could be his final Olympic outing.
"You would always go for the experienced winners and they don't come more experienced than Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson," said 31-year-old Dempsey, speaking as an ambassador for SSE at an event at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
"Bart (Andrew Simpson) has won one gold Olympic medal and Iain has won two so as a pair they are right up there with the best of them. They are on good form and have won so many events. You would think they are doing everything right. They know what it takes to win medals and you have to tip them to do it again, especially at home."
Percy and Simpson are not Britain's only sailing medal hope heading into London 2012, with the team coming away with silverware in eight of the ten Olympic classes and all three Paralympic events at this month's Sail for Gold.
And Dempsey, who has his sights on windsurfing gold having always finished on the podium in Weymouth, believes the honour of a home Games will spur the class of 2012 on to greatness.
"I think the official line of medals is four, but everyone in our team is capable of winning a medal, so who knows?" he added. "This is the biggest. Your home Olympics and the Olympics where I certainly feel the most prepared that I have felt.
"And I am sure Iain and Andrew will feel the same. Even though he has been there and done it all before you can't begin to imagine what winning Olympic gold on home waters means."
SSE is a supporter of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy helping them to generate 20 per cent of their energy through renewable sources by this Summer. For more information on making your home greener visit sse.co.uk/beinggreen.