Medal-hungry Kiwi camp poised to celebrate

BOND, MURRAY AND MAHE: Not since 1960 have we had two Olympic athletes win gold within an hour of each other.
BOND, MURRAY AND MAHE: Not since 1960 have we had two Olympic athletes win gold within an hour of each other.

The Brits are fretting. The Aussies are in panic. North Korea is crowing while superpowers China and the US are jockeying for position at the head of the medal table.

New Zealand?

What's the mood in the camp? Well, Kiwi Olympic Games bosses were emphasising the need for patience yesterday and hoping that the nation would wake this morning to some good news and an equestrian medal - and so it proved with the New Zealand team winning bronze in the three-day eventing.

Mark Todd has enjoyed his fair share of Andy Warhol moments in his time and his Olympic team-mates at Eton Dorney in the rowing and in the women's cycle time trial were hoping to draw inspiration later tonight from his medal-winning ways and lift New Zealand off the foot of the medal table where we languished on days one, two and three below countries such as Mongolia, Moldova and Azerbaijan, none noted for its Olympic pedigree.

Linda Villumsen tonight cycles in her favoured time-trial event, in which she has enjoyed recent world championship success.

Unlike in the road race, she does not require a team of riders to protect her, and her bike team-mates were optimistic that she would provide the perfect springboard to open their campaign in the velodrome tomorrow evening with a medal.

New Zealand's other great Games hopes, the rowers at Eton Dorney, also face their first of many days of reckoning when the women's pair, Juliet Haigh and Rebecca Scown, compete in their medal race, hoping that a freak accident early yesterday morning does not serve as an omen.

Marlborough's Louise Trappitt broke down in tears as she reflected on a snapped oar that dramatically cost the New Zealand women's quadruple sculls crew a place tonight's final not long after the pair take to the water.

The Kiwi quartet were flying at the 1500m mark of their repechage, needing to finish in the top four of six to progress when Trappitt's oar snapped and her charging boat dropped to the back of the field and out of the Games.

"Suddenly we kicked up some water, my blade hit it and it just shot out of my hand and snapped in half and I couldn't get it back,” she said. “I'm a bit in shock and disbelief."

It was then that the tears came cascading out, as the realisation that so many hours of training and preparation had ended in such wretched luck. She was consoled by team-mate Eve Macfarlane, of Canterbury, who said it was at times like this they had to remain a team.

"Everyone is gutted, but we support each other and we're already looking forward to Rio," she said.

There were no such anxieties for the men's quad of John Storey, Michael Arms, Matthew Trott and Robert Manson, as they completed an impressive repechage victory to power into semifinals, also tonight.

Mahe Drysdale rows in the semifinal and the impressive Eric Murray and Hamish Bond put their amazing undefeated status on the line again in the men's pair semi.

The Black Sticks men's hockey team get their chance to put their slow start to the Games behind them. They play India; a chance to get their campaign back on track after they lost 2-0 to Korea on Monday evening.

Fairfax Media