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Barker chases Olympic dream in wake of Coutts

Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker is launching a late bid to compete at the Athens Olympics in the same class in which Russell Coutts won gold in 1984.

The 30-year-old helmsman will race two Olympic trials next year in an attempt to be New Zealand's entrant in the Finn class. He faces competition from Peter Fox, who finished 23rd in Lasers at the Sydney Olympics regatta, and Clifton Webb, who finished 16th in Finns.

"I've been looking at a few different options since the America's Cup," Barker told Sunday Star-Times. "The first priority has been putting a huge amount of effort into putting a new team (Team NZ) together."

Barker has had one attempt to qualify for the Olympics and it left a bitter taste in his mouth. In 1996, he tied for first place with Craig Monk before losing out on a controversial countback. He was so disillusioned with the process he was on the verge of quitting sailing.   more...


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