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Sweden's Artemis Racing confirms America's Cup challenge; gold medalist Loof joins crew

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STOCKHOLM — Artemis Racing confirmed it is challenging for the America's Cup again and announced that Swedish Olympic gold medalists Freddy Loof and Max Salminen have joined the sailing crew.

The star-crossed syndicate announced its return Tuesday during a news conference at the Moderna Museet, with the America's Cup itself on hand.

Artemis' entry in the last America's Cup was marred by the death of Andrew "Bart" Simpson in a capsize during a training run on San Francisco Bay in May 2013. It was the first challenger to be eliminated.

Artemis, owned by oil billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist, is the second team to announce its challenge, after Emirates Team New Zealand. Cup officials won't announce the full slate of challengers until next month. Other syndicates expected to enter for a shot at sailing against defending champion Oracle Team USA are Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge, Britain's Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France.

Loof is one of the most successful Swedish sailors of all time and a long-time friend and sailing foe of Iain Percy of Britain, who is Artemis' team manager and tactician.

Loof and Salminen won the Star class gold medal at the London Games, leaving the favorites, Percy and Simpson, with the silver.

Loof has sailed in six Olympics. Besides the gold medal in London, he won the bronze medal in the Star class at Beijing in 2008 and bronze in the Finn class at Sydney in 2000. He's also won three Finn world championships, two Star world titles and was part of the third-place crew in the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race.

"I've been fascinated by the way sailing has been evolving over the last few years, with these new foiling boats and incredible TV production," Loof said. "I was really inspired by Artemis' last campaign and having a Swedish boat on the start line again, and being part of it this time, is very exciting. Winning the America's Cup and bringing it to Sweden for the first time would be something very special."

Artemis Racing also hired sailing coach Rod Davis, who is in his ninth America's Cup campaign. He won Olympic gold in the Soling class in Los Angeles in 1984 and silver in the Finn class in Barcelona in 1992.

Overall, Artemis team members have won 11 Olympic medals, including seven golds.

America's Cup organizers are still deciding between San Diego and Bermuda to host the challenger semifinals and finals, and America's Cup match in 2017.

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