Great medal haul, and we're beating Aussies

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 06/08/2012
New Zealand's rowing medalists
MIKE SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
MEDAL PYRAMID: New Zealand's rowing medalists build a pyramid to show off the hardware they gather during the London Olympics regatta at their day house near the Eton Dorney course.

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Hey Aussies, we want to draw your disordered attention to a little line item on the Olympic Games gold medal table.

OPINION: We're talking about the line that seems to have been censored in Australian newspapers. The one that puts New Zealand ahead of Australia, the self-styled world's greatest sporting nation.

No longer can Australian “comedians" compare New Zealand's medal performance to Tasmania's. What goes around comes around, cobber. Remember when we trounced you in 1984 at Los Angeles and panicked you into creating the Australian Institute of Sport?

Let's enjoy the moment while it lasts. And reflect on the difference a day can make to New Zealand's Olympic psyche. A day we'll remember forever as Fab Friday.

We couldn't have wished for a better start to our sporting weekend than the double gold at the rowing at Lake Dorney.

There's been a clear pattern to recent New Zealand Olympic campaigns - a fallow first week is followed by a rush for redemption in the dying days of the Games. It took us seven days to get off the mark in Beijing through Super Saturday, which produced five medals (two gold, a silver and two bronzes), our best single-day haul in Olympic annals. In two weeks at Sydney, we floundered for four medals - a gold to Rob Waddell and three bronzes.

But the cupboard's not bare in London. We started stocking up on the third day of competition when the New Zealand eventing team won a bronze medal for the first time in 16 years. The women's rowing pair doubled the medal tally, but the Kiwi vibe went viral with the men's double sculls crew wining our first gold medal.

But Fab Friday trumped it all. Hamish Bond and Eric Murray blitzed the world and then Mahe Drysdale delivered the second leg of a Kiwi quinella. The three golds on the lake had the desired domino effect. The New Zealand pursuit track cycling team backed up for bronze at a second consecutive Olympic regatta. Then, Peter Taylor and Storm Uru did the business in the lightweight double sculls, grabbing the Kiwis' fifth medal.

The Games aren't all about medals. But every medal of any hue helps. If this avalanche continues we could be on course for our most successful Games yet of the 21st century. We may not match the 13 in Seoul in 1988. But, hey, at least we're beating Australia.

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- Fairfax Media

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