Dalton says Tuke, Burling 'can't do both' Olympics and Am Cup

Source: 1News

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton says star Kiwi sailing combo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have a tough decision to make - the America's Cup or the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Dalton spoke to 1News on Wednesday afternoon after the protocol for the 37th America's Cup was released which confirmed both the rules for the event and some dates.

The entry period for challenges opens on December 1 and closes on July 31 next year, but late entries may be accepted up until May 31 2023 before the squads come together in 2024 to fight for the Auld Mug.

Racing will take place between January and September but with Auckland looking increasingly unlikely any Northern Hemisphere event would only wrap up in June, the month before the Paris Olympics.

This year Covid forced Burling and Tuke to juggle both events, the duo managing to retain the America's Cup before claiming a silver medal in the men's 49er in Tokyo.

Dalton told 1News that won't be an option this time.

"You can't do both - not at the level they're at," Dalton said.

"They suffered from that from last time [by trying to do both]. I mean, they won a silver medal for God's sake, but they expected and everyone expected them to sail away easily with the gold like they did in Brazil.

"They certainly won't be able to do the Olympics if they're in the [America's Cup] team."

Tuke and Burling played key roles in Team New Zealand's defence of the America's Cup earlier this year after helping the Kiwi entry reclaim the Auld Mug in Bermuda in 2017.

Grant Dalton arrives in Auckland with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke after winning the America's Cup in 2017.

However, the intense schedule saw Tuke and Burling's Olympic preparations suffer although the pair were still in the hunt for the gold right up to a thrilling medal race with eventual podium toppers Great Britain.

Dalton said he hadn't had conversations with the pair about the situation yet but that it was more of an issue Team NZ COO Kevin Shoebridge to handle.

"It's up to them. I don't even know if they're thinking about the Olympics frankly but certainly that will be gnawing at them for sure."

Dalton added the pair are currently "under a retainer" with Team New Zealand and aren't fully contracted, but he hopes to change that.

"It's sort of a mates obligation to talk because it's a pretty strong relationship frankly," he said.

"We'll come to a deal, I think, frankly.. but the juggernaut has to move on and make decisions and we're doing that."

1News sought comment from Blair and Tuke about the situation but the pair didn’t want to comment.