America's Cup stars Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have been recognised for their sailing dominance by the NZ Olympic Committee, receiving the prestigious Lonsdale Cup for 2020.
During a year severely restricted by a COVID-19 pandemic, the 2016 Olympic gold medallists retained the world 49er title they won only two months previously - their sixth in that class. Winning seven of 13 races, they finished 28 points clear of their nearest rivals.
They become the first sailors to take out the NZOC honour since boardsailor Barbara Kendall in 1999. Most recent recipients are the Silver Ferns netballers, Black Ferns Sevens, canoeist Lisa Carrington and golfer Lydia Ko.
Winning six world titles is an amazing feat. A huge amount of dedication, skill and hard-work is required for every campaign and these athletes have proven time and time again that they are a cut above the rest.
"We would like to congratulate Pete and Blair, not just for their recent achievements, but for years of sporting endeavours across disciplines that have captivated and inspired our nation," says NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith.
"We would also like to acknowledge their commitment to the ambition for a healthy ocean and recognise the work they have been doing in this space with marine conservation charity, Live Ocean."
Burling is helmsman aboard Team NZ's Te Rehutai, while Tuke is flight controller on the AC75 foiling monohull.
"It’s an honour to represent New Zealand and we are grateful to the NZOC for this acknowledgement” says Burling.
"2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year for sport. We’re looking forward to flying the New Zealand flag on the world stage."
Join us at 4pm Friday for live updates of the America's Cup challenger repechage between NYYC American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli