At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, New Zealand's rowing eight won gold and the coxless fours won silver. Rod Dixon, who claimed bronze in the 1500 m, was the only other New Zealand medal winner at these Games.
The Romanos list
In his book Our Olympic century (2008), well-known sports writer Joseph Romanos gave his pick of New Zealand's best Olympians. Do you agree with his choices?
Compare this article about our first Olympic medal which appeared in the Taranaki Herald on 16 July 1908 with TVNZ's Olympics page for the 2012 London Games to see how much has changed in 100 years of media coverage.
Covering the Games
Today when our athletes perform at the Olympics we can follow up-to-the-minute coverage via radio, television or the internet. If they are successful their faces are plastered across newspapers and magazines, and their winning moment is shown repeatedly on television and websites.
For most of
their history, the Olympic Games welcomed only those who competed for pleasure
and spurned all monetary rewards. Until the late 20th century, officials
pursued professionals far more vigorously than drug cheats.
Jack Lovelock led a remarkably full life before his death, just a few days shy of his 40th birthday, on 28 December 1949. He is remembered in New Zealand and abroad largely for his athletic achievements, especially his dramatic finish in the 1500 metres at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which won New Zealand its first athletics gold medal. But Lovelock also achieved academically, forged a successful medical career and was a husband and father of two.
This web feature was written and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team, with the assistance of David Green and Carl Walrond.
Olympic and Commonwealth Games – Te Ara
Read about NZ Olympians Darcy Hadfield, Jack Lovelock, Peter Mander, Ted Morgan, Arthur Porritt and Norman Read in the Dictionary of NZ Biography
New Zealand Olympic Committee
New Zealand at the Olympics (Wikipedia)
Summer Olympic Games (Wikipedia)
International Olympic Committee – official website of the Olympic Movement
Black Gold - NZ On Screen's Olympic film collection
We've created a story for each day of the Olympic Games:
NZ Olympic pioneers (1908)
Distance and money prevented New Zealanders from competing at the first three modern Olympic Games in Athens (1896), Paris (1900) and St Louis (1904). At the 1908 Games in London, three New Zealanders competed as part of an ‘Australasian’ team. One of them, walker Harry Kerr, bagged our first medal. More...
Our first female Olympian (1920)
Violet Walrond was New Zealand’s first female Olympian. She was only 14 when selected and 15 when she swam at the 1920 Antwerp Games.
In 2012 the Olympic Games were held to London, the city where New Zealand's Olympic story began in 1908. Kiwi athletes have produced plenty of memorable moments over the years, but the Summer Games have also been marred by boycotts, controversy and tragedy.
The 1908 Olympics
Today's event is a far cry from the London Games in 1908, when our first three Olympians competed as part of an ‘Australasian’ team. Harry Kerr from Taranaki won New Zealand’s first medal with a bronze in the 3500-m walk.
In 2012 the Olympic Games returned to London, the city where New Zealand's Olympic story began in 1908. Kiwi athletes have produced plenty of memorable moments over the years, but the Summer Games have also been marred by boycotts, controversy and tragedy.
The sports writer Peter Heidenstrom rated Yvette Williams as his 'New Zealand Athlete of the Century'. There is no doubt that she was one of our greatest-ever athletes - and probably the most versatile. There were few events for women in track and field in the 1950s but Williams excelled at most of them.
Sports participation and spectatorship were the only daytime leisure activities to rival home-centred pursuits such as gardening in this period. New Zealand's hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 1950 encouraged participation in sport and confidence in our ability to compete at international level.