Olympic gold medallist Joseph Sullivan may follow in the footsteps of fellow champion rower Rob Waddell and take up a position with Team New Zealand.

Sullivan is among several new faces who have been training with some of the established Emirates Team New Zealand crew over the past couple of months, with the Kiwi syndicate on the look-out for big, strong athletes with even bigger engines.

But Team New Zealand's chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge said Sullivan's involvement with the team is a very loose arrangement.

"We've put the feelers out there for athletic-type young guys who might have a possibility in the future," said Shoebridge. "[Sullivan] wants to get fitter and he's the right size and he's an athlete, so he's just started training with our guys in the gym at the moment, but it hasn't gone any further than that at this point.

Advertisement

"We don't have any official position for him, that's something that may or may not happen later."

Sullivan, who paired up with Nathan Cohen to win gold in the double sculls at the London Olympics, retired from rowing last year after being left out of the New Zealand team for two seasons following his triumph at the 2012 Games. He is now a firefighter in Auckland.

The 28-year-old has a lot of learning and hard work ahead of him if he is to earn a spot in Team NZ's six-strong crew for their 2017 America's Cup challenge. Looking to reinvent the team to adjust to the changing requirements in the new AC48 foiling catamarans, which are significantly smaller than the 72-foot behemoths sailed in the last America's Cup in 2013, Team NZ have recruited a number of young, athletic sailors.

Guy Endean and Harry Thurston have been aboard in the first two America's Cup World Series regattas in Portsmouth and Gothenburg, where Team NZ finished second and first respectively, while Josh Junior, who is hoping to campaign in the Finn in the 2016 Olympics, has also had the opportunity to be involved.

With the Cup boats to be crewed by just six people, and a collective weight limit of 525kg, Shoebridge said the team is still working out the best mix of skills needed on board.

"We've really got to define exactly what that role is and what those people are and that will come down to weight as well as skill, which we're still working on, which is why we've got a broad group of guys we're working on at the moment."

Shoebridge said while Sullivan is up against athletes with a sailing background for a role on the boat, there's no reason he can't earn a spot in the crew, although "it certainly helps to know the fundamentals of yachting".

Waddell, who was a grinder with Team NZ for the 2003, 2007 and 2013 campaigns, clocked up several hundred hours at sea when he first joined the syndicate.

Advertisement