Golden time for Southland Olympians
The last of the Southland and Central Otago competitors at the London Olympics finished up yesterday. Brendon Egan looks back on how they fared at the Games.
Nathan Cohen (rowing)
Nathan Cohen will go down in history as a Southland sports legend after winning gold alongside Joseph Sullivan in the men's double sculls on Thursday night.
It was the first time a Southland athlete had won an Olympic gold - or a medal of any colour. Cohen and Sullivan were in fifth place at the halfway stage of the final but powered home over the last 500m of the race to overtake the Italian and Slovenian crews to claim gold.
Storm Uru (rowing)
Just 48 hours after Cohen's gold medal row, Uru secured Southland's second Olympic medal, winning bronze in the men's lightweight double sculls with Peter Taylor. Uru and Taylor were able to keep pace with the highly touted Great Britain and Danish crews for most of the race, and finished narrowly behind them to place third. It was a great achievement for the Kiwi duo, considering they had an unfavourable lane draw and the race had to be re-run, after an early equipment failure on the British boat.
Jade Uru (rowing)
Jade Uru and the New Zealand men's four crew finished fifth in their B final.
The Kiwi four qualified for the semifinals via the repechage round but were unable to qualify for the A final, after finishing up fourth in their semifinal race.
Louise Ayling (rowing)
Louise Ayling and her lightweight double sculls partner, Julia Edward, finished up ninth overall at their first Olympic Games, following a third-place effort in their B final. The Kiwi pair were second in their repechage heat but were unable to book a place in the A final after they failed to fire in their semifinal, placing fifth.
Natalie Wiegersma (swimming)
The Waverley club swimmer had a tough introduction to the Olympic Games but will be better off for the experience of competing in the biggest event of her life.
In the 200m individual medley, Wiegersma came home in 2min 16.24sec - 2sec off the top eight in her heat and good enough for 26th out of 34. Wiegersma finished fifth in her heat in the 400m individual medley, which ranked her 19th overall. Her time of 4:44.78, was more than 4sec shy of her personal best.
Eddie Dawkins (track cycling)
The big Southland sprinter would have been disappointed by his results in London but at 23 years old will know he has time on his side to improve in Rio de Janeiro in four years' time.
Dawkins was eliminated from the individual sprint after losing to Trinidad and Tobago's Nijisane Phillip in his original heat, then also dipping out against Venezuela's Hersony Canelon in the repechage round. Earlier in the week, Dawkins had a rough beginning to the Olympics when he made a slow start in the men's team sprint qualifying ride, which ranked New Zealand seventh overall. The Kiwis took on France in their quarterfinal but, despite achieving a national record time, they were unable to move on.
Natasha Hansen (track cycling)
Natasha Hansen will be proud of her efforts in London, finishing 12th in the individual sprint on Sunday and 11th in the keirin.
Hansen's results were pleasing, considering New Zealand did not even have a women's sprint programme 10 months ago, and she was only an outside chance of being selected for the Olympics.
Nicky Samuels (triathlon)
Wanaka-based Nicky Samuels placed 35th overall in the women's triathlon, with a time of 2hr, 4min, 48 sec. She was the third-ranked New Zealander in the race, behind Andrea Hewitt, who was sixth, and Kate McIlroy, who was 10th. Just getting to the Olympics was an achievement in itself for Samuels, who was a reserve for the triathlon in Beijing four years ago. Five weeks after having her appendix removed, and after heart surgery earlier in the year, Samuels finished 15th in the Madrid leg of the world triathlon series in May to book a spot on the start line at the Olympics.
Andrew McMillan (swimming)
Cromwell's Andrew McMillan lined up in the 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay, but was unable to advance to the finals. New Zealand were ranked 15th overall after the heats in the 4x200m freestyle relay and ninth in the 4x100 medley relay.
Only the eight quickest countries progressed from the heats to the final.
- © Fairfax NZ News