Lawyer embarks on Olympic bid

12 May 2017
Antonio
Antonio - on the water
Antonio above the waters of Takapuna Beach, with Dutch training partner and world number 3 – Kiran Badloe.

Auckland Law School alumnus Antonio Cozzolino has traded his business suit for a wetsuit, in a bid to follow his dreams of competing at the 2020 Olympics games, in the sport of windsurfing.

The thirty-year old, who graduated with an LLB from the University of Auckland in 2013, and an LLM from the University of Sydney in 2014, has been employed for the last four years as a commercial litigator.

But he has resigned from his position at Russell McVeagh and will head to Holland next week to take part in an international windsurfing regatta in the lead up to September’s World Championships in Japan.

Antonio first tried windsurfing as a 12 year-old at Mission Bay. His parents had a restaurant there and he began spending more and more time across the road at the beach learning at the local windsurfing school.

By 13 he was teaching the sport to others and was shortly after introduced to Olympic Class windsurfing when Barbara Kendall ran a holiday programme. As a teenager, he spent most of his hours out of school windsurfing. He was hooked.

Finishing high school, Antonio headed off to Auckland Law School but continued to sail during his university studies and was even part of the New Zealand team at six World Championships. This included being the training partner and key support for a fellow Kiwi, Tom Ashley (another Auckland Law School alumnus), in his successful 2008 Olympic campaign.

During the next three years he will focus solely on achieving qualification and then selection for the 2020 New Zealand Olympic team.

“Qualification is relatively easy. I have to rank in the top 30 at any World Championship in the next three years,” he says.

“Selection is much harder. New Zealand has its own criteria and you must be at the top in the world with ‘medal potential’,” say Antonio. During the next six months he will spend hours most days getting up to speed by sailing, testing techniques, fine tuning equipment, and assessing what is working. When not on the water, Antonio will likely be in the gym building up his fitness level and strength.

As for Antonio’s legal career, he plans to return eventually. “I enjoy the law,” he says. My legal training is applicable to my Olympic bid. It’s taught me critical thinking skills which are perfect for strategizing. I’ve done four years now and that’s when it starts to get quite good. I’m definitely going back to it,” he says.

To follow Antonio’s progress and donate to his campaign, visit www.cozzolino.nz or click here to see some of his latest video footage.