Yachting silver medallist Peter Burling (right) and his
coach, Jez Fanstone, at the Otago Yacht Club in Dunedin
yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Peter Burling, who won a silver medal at the London
Olympic Games, is the bright hope for the future of New Zealand
Burling (21) was a sailing prodigy from the start and
competed in the Optimist world championships at the age of
He was the youngest to win the 420 world championships when
he won the event at the Canary Islands at the age of 15.
He retained the title six months later, at Takapuna in
He was aged 17 and was the youngest member of the New Zealand
team when he competed in the 470 class at the Beijing Olympic
Games in 2008. He finished 11th.
''It was a good eye-opener for the London Games,'' he said.
''I learned how polished my campaign had to be. You can't
afford to make any mistakes when it comes to that final
''It helped me this year, because I had seen it all before.
It helped with my planning, because I knew what to expect.''
It all came to fruition at this year's Olympic Games when he
and Blair Tuke won the silver medal in the 49er class.
A lot of thoughts went through his mind as he stood on the
''It was a pretty cool experience,'' he said.
''It was a bit weird, because we knew we had won the medal a
couple of days beforehand.''
The medals were presented by board sailing great Barbara
''She was a cool person to present the medals to us,''
''It was pretty special.''
They celebrated early and still had to sail the final race of
the Olympic regatta.
''It was cool sailing around and knowing that the result
didn't really matter and just having fun with it,'' he said.
''We came in and celebrated with the other Kiwis in the
village and then saw our friends who were outside.''
Burling grew up around the water in Tauranga and started
sailing at the age of 8, when he followed his brother Scott
into the sport.
He had his first highlight at the age of 11, when he competed
against the Aucklanders and finished second in the Optimist
at the New Zealand championships.
The biggest influence on his sailing career was his father,
Burling and Tuke will decide whether to stay in the same boat
for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics when they race against
in the 49ers next February.
At a glance
• Age: 21.
• Home town: Tauranga.
• Sport: Yachting.
• Record: 420 world champion (2006, 2007), 2008 Olympic Games
470 class (11th), Silver medal 49er world championships
(2011, 2012), 2012 Olympics 49er class with Blair Tuke (2nd).