Olympic glory earns athletes further honours

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 31/12/2012
NZ gold medalists
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

BLING BLING: New Zealand's gold medalists (rear): Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen (double sculls), Mahe Drysdale (single sculls), Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (pair), and (front), Polly Powrie (women's 470), Lisa Carrington (K1 200m) and Jo Aleh (women's 470).

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New Zealand's 2012 Olympic champions have been acknowledged in the New Year Royal Honours list.

With London gold medallists Valerie Adams and Mahe Drysdale already appointed to the New Zealand Order of Merit, each of the seven other athletes who brought home gold from this year's Games have now joined them.

Aged 23, Lisa Carrington is the youngest of the sporting recipients after a stunning 12 months have seen her become a household name.

After storming to World Championship gold in August 2011, Carrington comfortably won the Olympic final five months ago, after posting a new Olympic record in the semifinal.

Carrington has been made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) - the fifth level of the order - for services to kayaking.

But as in London, New Zealand's rowers have proved the dominant force.

Pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, and double scull duo Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan, have all been made members of NZ Order of Merit.

For Bond and Murray, who are yet to confirm whether they will defend their Olympic crown at Rio in 2016, the gong caps a stellar four-year period.

Claiming the 2009, 2010 and 2011 world championships, the pair won the London 2012 final in an Olympic record and world best time.

For Cohen and Sullivan, who claimed Olympic gold with a dramatic comeback in the final 500m, the honour is also for services to rowing.

Elsewhere, for services to sailing, New Zealand's champion women's 470 team of Olivia Powrie and Jo Aleh have been made Order of Merit members.

The Olympic appointees were headed by equestrian icon Mark Todd, who was made a Knight of the Order of Merit (KNZM), the second-highest level of the honour.

Outside the Olympic realm, Paralympic athlete Phillipa Gray was awarded an NZNM for services to cycling.

Gray, who is both sight and hearing impaired, won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the B (tandem classification) women's pursuit.

Former Football Fern Maia Jackman, who earned 50 caps for New Zealand's senior women's team, has been given the same honour for services to football.

Alan Isaac, who was elected president of the International Cricket Council in 2012 - the first New Zealander ever to hold the position - has been made a companion of the New Zealand order of merit (CNZM) - the highest level of the order before a knighthood.

Auckland's Peter Thorburn, a former All Blacks selector who was head coach of the United States Eagles at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, has been made MNZM for services to rugby.

There are also plenty of sports-related honours handed out to New Zealanders at grassroots level including Christchurch's Brian Adams, who has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal by the New Zealand Government for services to cricket.

 

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