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Belcher to skipper Australian America's Cup team

The Associated Press
Belcher to skipper Australian America's Cup team
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FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2012 file photo, Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, left, compete during the 470 men class race at the London 2012 Summer Olympics in Weymouth and Portland, England. Olympic gold medalist Mathew Belcher has been named skipper of the Australian challenge for sailing's America's Cup. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

SYDNEY (AP) -- Olympic gold medalist Mathew Belcher has been named skipper of the Australian challenge for sailing's America's Cup.

Belcher, who won gold in the 470 class at the 2012 London Olympics, will head Team Australia as it prepares for the next America's Cup regatta in the United States in 2017. He also intends to defend his Olympic title in Brazil in 2016.

Belcher has four world titles in the two-man 470 class and 18 straight regattas between 2011 and 2014.

''I'm humbled and excited by this honor,'' he said. ''I'm looking forward to the journey, coming aboard and working together with the crew to bring the Cup back to Australia.''

Team Australia also unveiled its first AC45 catamaran on Thursday and will train on Sydney Harbor this month with Cup-holders Oracle Team USA.

Australia hasn't competed at the America's Cup since 2000 and last held the trophy in 1983 when it became the first victorious nation other than the United States.

Team Australia represents the Hamilton Island Yacht Club of financial baker Bob Oatley and is the challenger of record for the 35th America's Cup. As Challenger of Record, it works with the reigning champion to decide the rules and location for the next regatta.

The Team Australia crew is yet to be finalized, but chief executive Iain Murray says it will feature mainly young, up and coming Australian sailors.

World skiff champion Seve Jarvin led an experimental Team Australia crew at last month's Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore which finished 10th out of 11 teams.

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