Palmerston North speed skater Shane Dobbin is the first athlete to be picked in New Zealand's Winter Olympics team.
Dobbin's selection for the games in Sochi, Russia, next month was announced today by the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Ice Speed Skating New Zealand.
Dobbin, who represented New Zealand at the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver 2010 in the 5000m, has been selected to compete in both the 5000m and 10,000m long track events in 2014.
NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith said the 34-year-old Kiwi would be a great asset to the New Zealand team.
''Shane is a great competitor and has proved himself with consistent performances on the international circuit,'' Smith said, ''his experience with the Olympic Games is vital to the New Zealand team considering the amount of first-time competitors currently aiming to qualify.''
Dobbin, who is now based on Australia's Gold Coast, said he was proud to once again be representing New Zealand.
''You never quite get over that feeling of wearing the Silver Fern and Olympic rings on your chest, so now after all the training and hard work I get to relive those moments and hopefully improve on my 2010 performance,'' Dobbin said.
Ice Speed Skating New Zealand's qualification criteria meant that Dobbin had to compete in 50 per cent of the International Skating Union World Cup events in 2013/2014. He then had to place in the top half of the field in 50 per cent of those events in order to be selected for the New Zealand Olympic Winter team.
The New Zealand Olympic Team is expected to be made up of around 15 athletes across with the majority of athletes competing in the freeski and snowboard events.
New Zealand Olympic Team Selection will be complete by late January 2014 with the Olympics being held from February 7 to 23.
- © Fairfax NZ News