By Chelsea White on 13/01/16 at 9:30 am
For a lot of National Federations, the 2015 season was used as a means to select and automatically qualify athletes for its 2016 Olympic Team. When the Rio de Janeiro Olympic qualification test event was held in August, some athletes were able to punch their tickets to the Games after meeting its Nation’s requirements.
For the British Federation, the Rio Test Event was just the beginning.
In order for an elite to automatically qualify for the Olympic Team, they would have to podium in two major races during the year - the first would be the Rio Test Event and the second would be the Grand Final in Chicago.
Non Stanford and Vicky Holland set out to complete those tasks. As both women are not only compatriots, but also housemates and friends, the quest to make it to Rio 2016 was a major goal.
The first box that both Brits ticked off was at the Rio Test Event. USA’s Gwen Jorgensen went to sail away with the gold medal, but not before Stanford and Holland both gave her a run for her money. After two resilient performances in the heat and conditions of the race, Stanford was able to finish second to earn the silver medal, while Holland followed right behind to finish the podium off at third.
With one task accomplished, the last race needed was the WTS Grand Final in Chicago. Stanford was once again able to secure the silver medal and Holland the bronze. Both women were able to complete the process of seizing a spot on the British Olympic Team and will return to Rio de Janeiro this summer to compete.
The Rio Games will be an Olympic first for Stanford, while Holland will compete in her second Games, after she raced in London in 2012, where she placed 26th.
Rio de Janeiro Olympic Qualification Event
WTS Grand Final Chicago