Hebden’s Andy Hodge has been selected to defend his Olympic title in the coxless four at the London 2012 Games.

The announcement of Team GB’s rowing team, which includes Andy, Peter Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory in the four, was made last week.

Andy said: “Obviously it is incredibly exciting to be selected, but my personal goal is to get a medal – and the shiniest one possible. It is a bit like having a birthday but not being able to celebrate.

“It is great to part of Team GB, but you are not really classed as an Olympian until you are competing.“My training is about being the fastest athlete I can be. The build-up to the games is an incredibly exciting time, but it is important not to let it run away with you and stop you performing as an athlete.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I have been training hard for ten years and this is my third games, but this time I am defending an Olympic gold medal.

“Training is going really well and I looking forward to the start of the races.”

Andy’s dad, Peter Hodge, said he was excited about his son’s selection, but it had come as no surprise.

He said: “It was always on the cards, but which boat Andy was going to be in was the question.”

Andy and Peter Reed had been competing in the pairs for the past three years, but had been put in the coxless four to stack the odds in favour of them getting a gold medal and to “try to take any doubts out of the equation”.

Peter said reaction to Andy selection’s for the Olympic Games had been “low-key” in Hebden.

“Everyone is quietly wishing him well, but when he gets gold then a bigger reaction will set in. Until then, it’s steady away. There can always be surprises and all the rowers will be supremely confident in their ability to win gold.”

Andy, who is 33, has been in the Team GB set-up since the age of 21 when he was spotted competing for Molesey Boat Club.

He initially competed in the Under 23s and rowed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in the eight, but failed to make the final.

“The memory of that is what drives him on,” said Peter.

And although Andy went to win gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he has never forgotten his roots in Hebden.

“He knows where he’s come from and he loves coming back here,” said Peter.”