OK, unless you've been in the back country for the last couple of weeks you know the Olympic Games are on.
You would have known, last night, that New Zealand had two bronze medals so far, won in the three-day eventing team competition and in the woman's pair on the rowing course. And if you're following the whole affair closely, you'll know as you read this exactly how many, and of what colour, we have this morning. At time of writing, another potential opportunity for a first gold looms several hours hence.
But the Games will be coming a lot closer to home from today, through the weekend ahead, as South Canterbury's Olympians head into competition.
Already, cyclist Marc Ryan will have taken his first steps into the spotlight of his third Olympics in the wee small hours of this morning, our time. And short of some kind of catastrophic mechanical failure at that point, he and the remaining members of the team pursuit quartet will be in action again tomorrow morning, hopefully going on to feature among the medals. They have a realistic shot at one.
Then it will be the turn of first-time Olympian Shane Archbold, who starts his campaign in the omnium tomorrow night our time. It's a gruelling multi-discipline event in which versatility is a key to success.
The man with one of the best mullets in sport is also a medal threat, having enjoyed some world championship success already. The experience of others in the team, like Ryan, who have been there before, could be a key to helping him calm any nerves and focus in on his goal.
Throughout South Canterbury there will be people getting up in the early hours to watch our local heroes, their efforts hopefully crowned with the kind of success Ryan experienced in Beijing, when he and his fellow pursuiters brought home a bronze medal.
That was rightly celebrated with a parade on Stafford St, and of course we hope for an opportunity to reprise that this time; indeed, to lift it another notch based on even greater success.
Plenty of messages of support have flooded in to the Herald, some on today's back page, making it clear how highly we value having Olympic competitors from our neck of the woods.
Obviously, medals are the measure of Olympic success, which is why we hope at least one more will be coming home to Timaru. But just having this talented pair there is huge. Go for gold, guys. The whole of South Canterbury is right behind you.
- © Fairfax NZ News