Published Thursday 09 August 2012

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke created a bit of New Zealand Olympic history when they won the silver medal in the 49er sailing at Weymouth today.

The yachties’ silver medal was the 100th won by New Zealanders at the Olympic Games, since the Harry Kerr won a walking bronze medal in 1908.

Burling, 21, and Tuke, 23, sailed a very consistent series and had the silver wrapped up before today’s final race.

With 80 points, they were too far behind to threaten runaway winners Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who finished with a net total of 56 points. But the New Zealanders had plenty of breathing space on third-placed Danes Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang.

The New Zealanders’ recorded placings of 9, 7, 1, 7, 3, 5, 9, 11, 7, 2, 1, 2, 15, 6, 6 and 2. The final race, sailed in very light winds, was worth double points so they picked up four points today.

The triumphant Australians finished fourth in the final race and the Danes third.

Appropriately, Burling and Tuke will receive their medals from fellow New Zealander Barbara Kendall, a member of the IOC and a three-time Olympic windsurfing medallist.

With the exception of windsurfing, today’s silver medal is the first won by New Zealand sailors at the Olympics since 1992.