Patterson to fly NZ flag at closing ceremony

BIG WEEK: Richard Patterson won gold, got married and now he's carrying the New Zealand flag.
BIG WEEK: Richard Patterson won gold, got married and now he's carrying the New Zealand flag.

Weightlifter Richie Patterson capped off the biggest week of his life by being chosen as flag bearer of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team.

Patterson was to lead about 150 New Zealand athletes and support staff into the closing ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park this morning.

The gold medal winner in the men's 85kg weightlifting competition at the Games, Patterson married business and training partner and fellow Commonwealth Games athlete Phillipa Hale at a ceremony in Glasgow on Thursday, just two days after winning gold.     

''It's been such a successful campaign for the New Zealand team,'' he said.

''I feel very grateful to have been to be given this honour and to lead everyone in to the closing ceremony.''

NZ team chef de mission Rob Waddell said the decision to select Patterson was tough.

''There have been so many outstanding athletes and performances here at Glasgow and it was incredibly difficult to choose one.''

Patterson was selected not only for his success at Glasgow but his commitment to performance and contribution to the wider team.

''Richie knew he wanted to win gold and become part of New Zealand history.

''He came fourth at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, then finished with silver at Delhi 2010. He was not deterred and in the end achieved his dream of standing on top of the dais,'' Waddell said.

''While focusing on his own performance, he also helped coach younger members of the weightlifting team in Glasgow.''

Buoyed by his gold, Patterson would now head to Nanjing, China, for the Youth Olympic Games (August 16-23) as coach of the New Zealand weightlifting team.

''Winning gold brought a sense of relief. It was something so deep, the desire to be part of New Zealand history,'' said Patterson.

''It's been a fantastic experience to be competing, but it's been also amazing to being part of other people's journeys too.

''I really enjoy seeing the emotion and I know for some it's the lighting of a fire that will see them come back, either to realise a dream or to defend a title. It's been an incredible experience.''

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