More suits than stars in Sochi for New Zealand

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2014

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New Zealand will have twice as many staff and administrators at next month's Winter Olympics in Russia than athletes competing in the games.

With the New Zealand Olympic Committee confirming 15 Kiwi athletes are bound for Sochi, also on their way are 31 members of support staff, administrators and assistants. Performance-related staff includes a crew of eight coaches, two wax technicians, four medical staff and a sport psychologist.

The list of administrators includes NZOC president Mike Stanley, High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive Alex Baumann and Snow Sports New Zealand chief executive Martin Toomey.

In addition to Chef de Mission Pete Wardell, the NZOC delegation also contains a "Russian New Zealander" assistant, two people to handle communications and social media and national events and partnership manager Kathryn Irving, whose job is to manage the requirements of sponsors and guests.

Kereyn Smith, the NZOC secretary general and effective head of the organisation, will not be attending.

Ashley Abbott, NZOC communications manager, said NZOC board members Barry Maister and Barbara Kendall will also be going, though would be part of the International Olympic Committee's delegation, not the NZOC's.

Baumann, head of the Crown's elite sport entity HPSNZ, will be in Russia for the first week of the games only.

Unlike a summer games, lead Crown entity Sport New Zealand said it chose not to spend taxpayer money on sending any representatives to Sochi.

With safety concerns running high around the Games, including fears over terrorism and a backlash to Russia's anti-gay laws, the NZOC is taking a single member of security, recruited from New Zealand Police.

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