Returning Olympians hope to inspire others

Rebecca Scown, Joseph Sullivan and Juliette Haigh with their medals.
Rebecca Scown, Joseph Sullivan and Juliette Haigh with their medals.
470 gold medallists Polly Powrie and Jo Aleh are all smiles as they arrive in Auckland.
470 gold medallists Polly Powrie and Jo Aleh are all smiles as they arrive in Auckland.
Joseph Sullivan stops for a photo with some rowing fans.
Joseph Sullivan stops for a photo with some rowing fans.
Jackie, Zac and Eric Murray share a family moment at the airport.
Jackie, Zac and Eric Murray share a family moment at the airport.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke show off their silver emdals.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke show off their silver emdals.
Mahe Drysdale shows his gold medal to young cousins Niia, 4, left and Zizi, 6.
Mahe Drysdale shows his gold medal to young cousins Niia, 4, left and Zizi, 6.
Hamish Bond shows off his gold medal.
Hamish Bond shows off his gold medal.
Eric Murray, Nathan Cohen and Blair Tuke arrive at Auckland airport.
Eric Murray, Nathan Cohen and Blair Tuke arrive at Auckland airport.
Gold medallist Eric Murray has his hands full with son Zac and interviews after arriving home from London.
Gold medallist Eric Murray has his hands full with son Zac and interviews after arriving home from London.
Cycling medalists, from left; Aaron Gate, Simon van Velthooven, Sarah Walker, Marc Ryan and Westley Gough pose for a photo.
Cycling medalists, from left; Aaron Gate, Simon van Velthooven, Sarah Walker, Marc Ryan and Westley Gough pose for a photo.
Simon van Velthooven poses for a photo with his family.
Simon van Velthooven poses for a photo with his family.
Fans line the barriers at Auckland airport to catch a glimpse of their Olympic heroes.
Fans line the barriers at Auckland airport to catch a glimpse of their Olympic heroes.
Sarah Walker stops for a photo with some young fans.
Sarah Walker stops for a photo with some young fans.
Members of the cycling team arrive at Auckland airport.
Members of the cycling team arrive at Auckland airport.
Westley Gough, left and Marc Ryan, members of the bronze medal winning team pursuit, arrive in Auckland.
Westley Gough, left and Marc Ryan, members of the bronze medal winning team pursuit, arrive in Auckland.
Sarah Walker with her BMX silver medal.
Sarah Walker with her BMX silver medal.
Cyclist Simon van Velthooven gives his bronze medal a kiss as he arrives at Auckland airport.
Cyclist Simon van Velthooven gives his bronze medal a kiss as he arrives at Auckland airport.
Some young fans gather to check out Sarah Walker's silver medal.
Some young fans gather to check out Sarah Walker's silver medal.
Sarah Walker poses for photos with her medal at Auckland airport.
Sarah Walker poses for photos with her medal at Auckland airport.
Sarah Walker is greeted by boyfriend Ian Seymour.
Sarah Walker is greeted by boyfriend Ian Seymour.
A young fan gets up close to Sarah Walker's silver medal.
A young fan gets up close to Sarah Walker's silver medal.
Rowing fans await the arrival of the New Zealand Olympic team.
Rowing fans await the arrival of the New Zealand Olympic team.
Bronze medal winning cyclist Aaron Gates' family awaits his arrival at Auckland airport.
Bronze medal winning cyclist Aaron Gates' family awaits his arrival at Auckland airport.

 

New Zealand's golden flight has touched down at Auckland International Airport with some very precious cargo onboard.

Part of our Olympic team is back home and hundreds gathered this morning in the arrivals hall to meet them.

Walking through customs just before midday was our rowing and sailing squads, and there was a lot of gold on display.

Eric Murray rushed straight into the arms of wife Jackie and son Zac, who was clutching a New Zealand flag given to him by a member of the public.

''I am a little bit tired, but just glad to be home,'' he said.

''What a welcome.''

With him was Hamish Bond, who said the long flight home from London was worth it to see the crowds at the airport.

''It makes you proud to be a Kiwi, that's for sure,'' he said.

One of the biggest cheers was reserved for single sculls gold medallist Mahe Drysdale, who had a big contingent of friends and family waiting for him.

''This welcome home is much bigger than I ever imagined,'' he said.

''I can't tell you how great it feels to be back home.''

Watching on was proud mum - ''the proudest in New Zealand!'' - Robin Owens.

''I am just so excited to see him, to see the whole team,'' she said.

''All I want to do is give him a big hug.''


Waikato Times