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Burling and Tuke named NZ flag bearers for Rio

Radio New Zealand Radio New Zealand 4/08/2016

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke © NZOC Peter Burling and Blair Tuke Olympic sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will lead the New Zealand team into Maracana Stadium at the Rio Opening Ceremony tomorrow.

It is the first time in New Zealand history that two athletes have been named as co-captains of the Olympic team.

Peter Burling, who is attending his third Olympics, and his sailing partner Blair Tuke will be the official flag bearers as the team enters the stadium at tomorrow's ceremony.

The pair won a silver medal in sailing's 49er class at the London Olympics and are favourites to win gold in Rio.

They are also four-time world champions. Burling and Tuke were each presented with a kakahu (Maori cloak) by the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae and the New Zealand team Chef de Mission Rob Waddell at a ceremony in the athletes village.

Burling said being named as co-captain with his sailing partner was a privelege.

"We are so incredibly proud to be leading the team together and to be honoured as a crew," said Burling.

"We would not have had the success we have had without each other and we know this is the case for many of us in the New Zealand Olympic Team."

As co-captains, the duo is expected to provide leadership to the wider New Zealand Olympic Team.

Tuke said he hoped their experience would enable them to add value to others' performances.

"We are just so proud and, by sharing our experiences gained as a team, we hope we can inspire incredible performances here in Rio."

Chef de Mission Rob Waddell recognised naming co-captains was unusual.

"The joint appointment is a step away from Olympic tradition but it acknowledges the importance of teamwork at the Olympic Games," Waddell said.

"Pete and Blair have delivered exceptional performances as a crew over the past four years and have epitomised the values and culture of the New Zealand Olympic Team.

"We know they will inspire through achievement and performance." Burling and Tuke will lead New Zealand's largest ever Olympic team with 199 athletes set to compete in Rio.

New Zealand medal winners from the London Olympics at The Cloud. New Zealand's top medal chances in Rio

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