Jez FANSTONE has skippered a Volvo Ocean Race campaign and managed three Olympic programmes. But his most recent achievement, and the one he is best known for is as coach to British sailor Ben AINSLIE, whose successes included Olympic gold medals in three consecutive games.
Now, as Olympic Programme Manager for Yachting New Zealand, FANSTONE will bring his immense talent for leading teams to ultimate success to New Zealand sailors competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
FANSTONE believes there is plenty of success to come from his newly adopted team, "The New Zealand sailing team has the talent to secure Olympic medals not only in London, but in future Games. I have spent many years working closely with people like Ben AINSLIE and overseeing major international sailing teams, and I can see that New Zealand has world-class potential. Our challenge now is to put the final refinements on it in the build up to 2012."
In this quest he will be backed up by somebody who knows exactly what is required to deliver Olympic gold for New Zealand. Beijing windsurfing gold medallist Tom ASHLEY will be embarking on a campaign to represent New Zealand at the London Olympic Games where he aims to defend his title. ASHLEY is one of the rare breed to achieve both World Champion and Olympic Champion status in the same year. He will use his experiences and talent to help the team in an advisory role and to help coach and mentor the up and coming stars of New Zealand Yachting.
For 2012, Yachting New Zealand has refined its programme and management structure to build on the achievements of the build up to the Beijing Olympic Games, where New Zealand secured 13 podium finishes at World Championship and Olympic events in the Olympic sailing classes.
"This team is notable for its current campaign experience and its Olympic medal tally," says Yachting New Zealand's Chief Executive Des BRENNAN. "As sailors, campaigners, coaches and managers, Tom and Jez are the best in the world. In the next four years they will be joined by a team of talented sailors, coaches and managers to lead our quest for sailing medals, particularly targeting the 2012 Olympic Games in London."
BRENNAN says that FANSTONE is a proven leader and a world-class coach and sailor who fully understands the commitment required and the subtleties of coaching and leadership.
New Zealand's sailing record in Olympic class over the last four years makes the country one of the very best performers in Olympic classes, says BRENNAN. "However we must keep pushing to improve our position in the increasingly competitive international sporting environment," he explains. "We have worked with Sport and Recreation New Zealand [SPARC] to set very ambitious goals for 2012, and we believe that we have a world-beating plan and team in place to succeed."
The New Zealand team has already made a strong start to the ISAF Sailing World Cup series, with five medals won at the first event, Sail Melbourne, held in Australia last December. At just 22 years old, windsurfer Antonio COZZOLINO is following in the footsteps of ASHLEY and with points-scoring finishes at Melbourne and Miami sits on top of the Men's RS:X ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings after the opening two events.