Rio Olympics 2016: 49er champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke not ruling out sailing at Tokyo Olympics in 2020 video

Kiwi sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke stitch up gold in the Olympic 49er fleet ahead of the final medal race.

New Zealand's gold medal sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke aren't ruling out another Olympics campaign.

The pair secured gold in the men's 49er class at Rio on Wednesday, wrapping up fleet racing with a 34-point buffer to make Friday's medal race a formality.

They have a post-Rio programme already mapped out.

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling have handled the dual responsibilities of an Olympics campaign and America's Cup racing to ...
PHOTOSPORT

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling have handled the dual responsibilities of an Olympics campaign and America's Cup racing to crown 2016 with a gold medal at Rio.

The four-time world champions and current world sailors of the year will quickly turn their full attention to Team New Zealand's quest for the America's Cup which comes to a head at next year's finals in Bermuda.

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Burling will helm the big foiling catamaran and trimming specialist Tuke will look for a place among the crew.

When asked during their current Olympics campaign whether they might have crack at the next Games in Tokyo 2020, Burling didn't rule it out.

"We have the America's Cup till June 2017 and we'll see. We're definitely not saying it (Rio) is our last."

The talented pair of friends have shown a remarkable ability to juggle responsibilities.

What unfolds in their next assignment may determine their long-term future.

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Team New Zealand success in Bermuda would ensure a professional future at home for the pair. If Team New Zealand doesn't win the cup, the future of the syndicate will again come into question given the massive costs of mounting challenges.

The freakish abilities of Burling, 25, and Tuke, 27, mean they would always be targets for opposition cup syndicates, though whether foreign teams would be so accommodating of Olympics aspirations would be questionable.

Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, the 2012 Olympic 49er champions, found Swedish cup team Artemis Racing less tolerant of their latest Olympic aspirations than Burling and Tuke enjoyed with Team New Zealand.

Burling and Tuke enjoy the skills and demands that come with the tricky 49er class and believe they can benefit their America's Cup assignments. They also see major benefits from operating alongside world class sailing talent in the massive catamarans of the cup.

Burling has already been to three Olympics after finishing 11th in the 470s in Beijing before switching to the skiffs and enlisting the help of Tuke.

Tuke has London and Rio under his belt now, delivering silver and gold alongside Burling.The pair are thrilled to have lived up to the massive expectations on them after totally dominating the class in the four years between Games, a run that included 27 consecutive international titles, including four world championships.

Rio gold is the crowning glory as they led not just the impressive sailing effort but also the New Zealand Olympic squad after being named co-captains and handling the flag duty at the opening ceremony.

They epitomise the excellence required of Olympic champions.

That was still sinking in on Wednesday and Burling believed it mightn't be until the medal ceremony that they will appreciate it all.

"We took the silver medal back to New Zealand and probably didn't realise until then what it meant to the country," Burling said of their London effort.

"We had a few months off and from there the desire to give gold a crack was pretty much what drove us.

"We're super proud that we've managed to achieve that although I don't think we'll really realise what we've done until we have the medals around our necks."

Confirmation of Burling and Tuke's gold medal came ona day when Sam Meech claimed New Zealand's first Olympics medal in the tough Laser class, winning bronze.

The mixed crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders finished a frustrating fourth in the new Nacra 17 catamaran class.

New Zealand has more medal potential in the two women's double-handed classes.

Defending champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are second going into Thursday's 470 medal race. They have remarkably overcome two disqualifications to give themselves another shot at the podium though they can't catch British leaders Hannah Mills and Saskia Clarke.

Molly Meech and Alex Maloney lie fourth heading into the 49erFX medal race on Friday but just one point separates the top four teams in the exciting new Olympic class.

 - Stuff

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