Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez will lead Team Telefónica, the latest entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
The Spanish sailing heroes won gold in the 49er class at the 2004 Athens Olympics and silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The duo will be competing in their third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race finishing third with Telefónica Azul in the last edition of the race.
As commentator Andi Robertson stated, the pair has become 'the hottest property in sailing' after finishing runner up in the Barcelona World Race. They were the first team to complete the course non-stop. The two sailors will focus all of their attentions on the Volvo Ocean Race between now and July 2012 when the race concludes in Galway, Ireland.
Martinez was also designated as skipper of the boat.
Olympic gold medalists Iker Martinez (pictured) and Xabi Fernandez will lead Team Telefonica, the latest Spanish entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. - © Chapi Click Here to view large photo
'The Volvo Ocean Race is the Formula 1 of ocean sailing,' said Martinez. 'It has the highest technology, the best boats, the best people there. So really looking forward to going there. At the same time, a big responsibility to be the skipper. It’s a huge responsibility. I really didn’t want to do this before, because I thought I was not prepared to do it.'
'But now with more time, actually with two Volvo’s – the first one I didn’t sail much but was involved, the second one I sailed. Now the Barcelona World Race was a very good thing to learn how to do this on the ocean like the racing side from the Olympics, which was pretty good. But we needed to learn the Ocean spirit, the Ocean experience: how to manage the boat… You have to finish the race and the next step is to win the race.'
Volvo Ocean Race
Olympic gold medalists Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (pictured) will lead Team Telefonica, the latest Spanish entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. - © Chapi