North Canterbury's golden girl
Every young woman loves buying jewellery, but Lizzie Stevenson has a piece of gold around her neck that only hard work can bring.
On Saturday night in Sydney, the Flaxton teenager and Auckland team-mate Alexa Kennedy, won gold in the women's synchronised trampoline at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The New Zealand flag flying high, gold medal around her neck and Kiwi supporters singing the national anthem, Lizzie says she had a rush of thoughts going through her head during the medal ceremony.
"It's such a proud feeling. I was thinking about my country and how proud I was to win a medal for New Zealand."
The 13-year-old pairing, competing in an under-17 competition, had a nervous wait after their routine as the British and Australian teams delivered flawless performances.
"It was hard watching the others after us. We knew it was close, but when we finally realised we'd won, it was so exciting . . . just an amazing feeling."
Lizzie's coach at ICE trampoline and tumbling in Rangiora, Nigel Humphries, did not travel to Australia, but spent time coaching the pair over Christmas. He was over the moon when he received a text message from Lizzie's mother on Saturday night.
He said the girls were deserving winners after countless hours of training.
Mr Humphries said the girls had a high difficulty routine in an attempt to be competitive - a high risk, high reward scenario - and delivered.
Lizzie's proud parents, Ally and Graeme, were among the Kiwi supporters that included athletes from other sports at the games, cheering the pair.
"When you know how much work Lizzie has put in and you see her getting the rewards, it's such a satisfying feeling, " Mrs Stevenson said.
"As a parent you want to see your child happy and to see Lizzie standing up there it's such an immense feeling of pride and emotion."
Lizzie said the success has not sunk in yet, but the gold medal means everything to her.
"Having that Olympics tag makes it so much bigger."