Andy Hodge says he is excited to have been given the chance to defend his Olympic title in the men’s coxless four at London 2012, though he admits there is a hint of sadness that he will not be able to finish the job in the men’s pair.
The Skipton-raised 33-year-old has been moved into the men’s four along with his long-time ally Pete Reed.
Their mission is to win gold in the discipline for the fourth Olympics in succession, a tradition Sir Steve Redgrave began in Sydney.
Since striking gold in Beijing, Hodge and Reed have concentrated on the men’s coxless pair. But they never enjoyed the same success with the New Zealand duo of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray beating them 14 times in a row, including in three world championship finals from 2009 to 2011.
Great Britain performance director David Tanner has taken the decision just four months out from the Games to switch Britain’s two strongest oarsmen back to the flagship boat.
“It’s very exciting to be back in the four,” said Hodge.
“Pete and I had a fantastic three years in the pair and we can now take all of that knowledge and experience and put it into a boat we are very familiar with.”
A switch so late in the day does not render the hard work of the last three years redundant.
Hodge said: “As a rower these last three years have helped me push forward technically, mentally and physically. Pete and I can strengthen the guys around us. We know the standards we want to set, that we want to row.”
But Hodge accepts that there is an element of sadness that he departs the pair having never mastered the New Zealand boat.
He said: “I loved racing against those guys. You want to race the best in the world and they were exactly that. There will always be a part of me that will want to beat them.”