Parents share golden glory

Michael Sullivan's nerves were racing before the big "wow" moment when he watched his son win an Olympic gold medal in London.

Michael Sullivan and his wife, Elaine Sullivan, returned home to Picton this week at the end of a tour of Europe after watching their son, Joseph Sullivan, win a gold medal with teammate Nathan Cohen in the double scull rowing final on August 2.

The Kiwi pair surged ahead of the competition, moving up from fifth position to first over the last 500 metres, during the race on Dorney Lake to secure New Zealand's first gold medal of the 2012 Olympics.

Michael Sullivan said he experienced "mixed emotions" while he and his wife cheered on their son from the main stand overlooking the race.

"Joseph said to us, ‘there's six crews chasing one medal and anything can happen'.

"It was a major moment, to watch the race evolve, my nerves were racing - very emotional.

"When he won it was just a big ‘wow'."

Mr and Mrs Sullivan were unable to speak to their son until about two hours after he had won the race with Nathan Cohen because of media obligations the pair had to fulfil.

"There's a lot of people there and they all want a piece of him and Nathan."

The couple were thankful for the support from everyone in Marlborough in the build-up to the race and during the competition.

"We heard about the great support from people back home through all the other New Zealand team family members, there was a crowd of us staying at a hotel."

They decided to take the opportunity to travel after seeing their son win the medal and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience, though jet lag was "kicking in a bit" now they were back in Picton.

"We saw a bit of Europe and tried to find some family in Ireland.

"We took the chance to do some travel because it's a once in a lifetime trip."

Michael Sullivan said his son was due home "somewhere around August 15" but had a lot of sporting obligations to fulfil before he would get time to relax.

The Marlborough Express