Southerners go for gold
The hype and the drama of the world's premier sporting spectacle, the Olympics, is only 16 days away. Seven Southlanders will feature, giving those at home in southern New Zealand plenty to cheer about.
Southland Times sports reporter Logan Savory assesses their chances.
Discipline: Men's premier double
Lowdown: Cohen has teamed up with Joseph Sullivan to win the 2010 and 2011 world titles which suggests there will be only one colour of medal on their minds in London, and it isn't silver or bronze.
There were some concerns recently in the build-up for the New Zealand's men's doubles combination when, at a World Cup regatta in Switzerland, they failed to even make the A-final.
However, at the second World Cup regatta in Germany they finished a creditable second putting them in a better mindset heading into London.
For Cohen it will be his second Olympic Games after he competed in Beijing in 2008 with Rob Waddell. They finished fourth, just out of the medals.
The biggest threat for Cohen and Sullivan in London is expected to come from the German crew.
Discipline: Men's lightweight double
Lowdown: Uru and team-mate Peter Taylor have teamed up to win medals at the past three World Championships including picking up a gold in Poznon in 2009. A medal at the 2012 Olympics will be very much on their minds and the ultimate, if everything clicked, would be the gold medal.
To highlight just where the New Zealand lightweight men's crew is at the moment, they picked up a silver in a World Cup regatta in Switzerland before claiming gold in the next World Cup regatta in Germany.
It will be Uru's second time to the Olympic Games after he and Taylor finished 7th in Beijing four years ago.
Their toughest opposition is expected to come from the Great Britain and France crews.
Prediction: Podium finish
Discipline: Men's four
Lowdown: Jade is part of a relatively new and young New Zealand men's combination and the expectations on them are probably not as great as on other crews. The crew have shown improvement during their short time in the boat together and while all New Zealand crews will be after a podium finish, a spot in the A-final will probably be regarded a success for Uru and his team.
It will be the former James Hargest College pupil's debut Olympic Games, although four years ago he was in Beijing cheering on his older brother Storm.
This year, the Southland brothers will have the unique honour of competing at the same Olympic Games.
Prediction: Top 10
Discipline: Women's lightweight double
Lowdown: Ayling and her lightweight doubles partner Julia Edward have been the surprise package in the lead-up to the Olympics as far as the New Zealand elite rowing team goes.
Ayling and Edward are very much a new crew and in their first-ever international regatta together in May they astonished many when they broke the world record in the heats before going on to finish second in the A-final.
They backed it up in the next regatta by winning gold at the World Cup in Germany.
The New Zealand lightweight women's crew have gone from relative unknowns to genuine medal contenders in London.
Their biggest threat will probably come from the Chinese, American and Danish crews.
Discipline: 200m & 400 individual medley
Lowdown: Cracking the big time in swimming is a tough gig and Wiegersma is facing that battle. To qualify to swim at the Olympics is a job in itself and the Waverly swimming club member – even if she is probably New Zealand's best female swimmer – will need to be on top of her game to feature in the finals.
Wiegersma has set her sights on recording personal bests and if she does that she may be able to squeeze her way into a finals berth.
It will be Wiegersma's first time at an Olympics after a shoulder injury ruled her out of qualifying for Beijing four years ago.
The Southlander has already highlighted her desire to be at the 2016 Olympics in Rio – London may be a good stepping stone for her.
Prediction: Top 10
Sport: Track Cycling
Discipline: Men's team sprint
Lowdown: Dawkins' specialist event, the 1000m sprint, was cut from the Olympics and now he will chase his dream as part of the New Zealand men's sprint team.
The men's sprint team is relatively young and maybe it's the 2016 Olympics where we will see the best of them, but they have still shown enough to suggest they can push for a spot on the podium if everything clicks.
At the World Championships they picked up a bronze medal, although it should be pointed out they finished fifth. They were elevated to third when Great Britain and Germany were disqualified.
Prediction: Top five
Sport: Track Cycling
Discipline: Women's sprint & keirin
Lowdown: Hansen had to prove herself at the World Championships to book a ticket to the Olympics and she did just that with an encouraging 13th place finish in the sprint in Melbourne in April.
She backed that up with a startling display just recently when she finished second in the keirin behind German world champion and record holder Kristina Vogel at the Cottbus Grand Prix.
If she can repeat that, we could be in for something special, although she is probably viewed as a 2016 Olympic medal prospect.
A strong showing in London will propel her towards four years of positive build-up to Rio.
Prediction: Top 10.
- © Fairfax NZ News