Reforming the band for Tokyo 2020
Published on July 24th, 2018
Kiwis Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (above, Burling on right) won silver in the 49er skiff event at London 2012 Olympics, and followed that up with Gold at Rio 2016. Their ability on that stage got the attention of Team New Zealand where they both were pivotal in helping the Kiwis win the America’s Cup in 2017.
Just 26 and 27 years of age at the time, respectively, what would be their next move? Why not the Volvo Ocean Race, so these offshore rookies joined the 2017-18 edition, both finishing in the top three on separate teams as they traveled the world and mastered the seas.
That kind of lifestyle tends to have a continued upward trajectory, much to the relief of all the skiff sailors they previously squashed. Well, bad news comes from the land of the long white cloud as Burling and Tuke are reforming the band to win another gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Burling and Tuke dominated the 49er class in the last Olympic cycle, winning every major regatta after the 2012 Olympics, including four consecutive world titles and Olympic gold in Rio 2016. And now after a two year break, they are ready to do it again.
The pair have made no secret that another Olympic campaign was high on their agenda but wanted to wait until the Volvo Ocean Race had concluded to reset goals with their core team. And just to make things interesting, they will continue being part of Emirates Team New Zealand’s defense of the America’s Cup.
“It’s not a decision we made lightly” said Tuke. “Representing your country at Olympic level is the highest honor and we are both incredibly focused on defending the Cup for New Zealand as part of Emirates Team New Zealand. We wanted to ensure we could give both campaigns everything we’ve got.”
Burling added: “We know the combination of Olympic and America’s Cup sailing complement each other. It creates a really high-performance environment across all areas of sailing for us to push ourselves and be at the top of our game.”
The British team, which took first and second at the 2017 49er World Championship, just got some company.
Source: Yachting New Zealand