PAUL Goodison is South Yorkshire’s best chance of gold at the London Olympic Games and the pressure doesn’t phase him one bit.
The Sheffield-born sailor, who grew up in Rotherham and is an ardent Sheffield United fan, already has one gold medal to his name after winning in Beijing four years ago, but he’s a red-hot favourite to add another on the waters of Weymouth later this summer.
Sailing in the laser class - the most basic of boats, which is a true test of skill - Goodison says he has no other intentions than winning.
He told The Star yesterday on a visit to his sponsors Volvo in Sheffield: “I went into my first Olympics desperate for a medal in Athens and was distraught when I didn’t get it.
“I went into Beijing thinking anything less than gold wasn’t satisfactory. I was lucky enough to get it.
“Once you’ve stood on that top step with the flag and the national anthem then anything less isn’t good enough.
“We’re going to try and win, and I believe I am capable of winning. It is a case, a bit, of gold or nothing.”
Goodison is almost peerless in the laser class. However, he says he expects to pushed hard on his home waters just off the coast of Dorset.
“Going into the Beijing Games it was between me and the Australian Tom Slingsby and he never really got it going.
“I’m sure coming into Weymouth he won’t mess up this time. It will be a really tight battle.
“There’s the two of us fighting for gold and five or six people fighting for medals. It’ll be much tighter than last time.
“Physically I’m as strong and as fit as ever and my sailing has improved. I’ve also got four years extra experience.”
Goodison has already had one boost as he managed to see United’s play-off victory over Stevenage this week.
He said: “This is my last trip home, so it’s a bit of a reallity that we’re not far away now. It’s not nervous, but it’s exciting. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was celebrating in China.
“It’s scary how quick the time goes. Time is your enemy. You have to get everything done by July 30.”