If Olympic rowing gold medallist Joseph Sullivan needed a reminder about how life has changed dramatically for him, he got a pleasant surprise at Fairweathers Restaurant and Bar in Blenheim on Saturday, where he, his partner Holly Ross and Express reporter John Alexander were booked at a quiet table for a post-Olympic interview.
Also in the establishment, enjoying the aftermath of a grand finals victory, were members, parents and supporters of a Moutere junior rugby team.
The moment Sullivan walked in the door, they all stood up and cheered the Olympic champion.
Despite being obviously exhausted after the post-London celebrations and the drive from Christchurch, in true Sullivan style he happily signed autographs, pulled his gold medal out of his pocket to hand around and enjoyed having his picture taken with all and sundry.
Despite his new-found fame, he has not lost the humility he was brought up with and which is synonymous with many of New Zealand's top rowers.
- The Marlborough Express