It’s disappointing some folk are in dispute as to whether Lisa Carrington or Sophie Pascoe is our greatest Olympian when both should be celebrated equally for their magnificent achievements.
In Tokyo, Carrington took her Olympic Games tally over two Olympics to six with five gold and one bronze to surpass the five registered by equestrian rider Mark Todd and kayakers Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald at previous Games.
Equally amazing, swimmer Pascoe has a total of 15 at three Paralympics – nine gold and six silver to also earn her legendary status. To suggest she has been ignored because of Carrington’s latest feat is rubbish.
In having to race up to three times in one day at the start of Carrington’s Tokyo campaign and maintain her winning habit all the way to claiming golds in the K1 200 and 5000 and K2 500, the latter with Caitlin Royal, speaks of a competitor in a class of her own.
Lisa’s supremacy at the starts when she quickly put a length on opponents was staggering, as was the stamina and courage in maintaining that winning habit. Hence no prizes for predicting the main benefactor of the next Halberg Awards.
With New Zealand rowing claiming three gold and two silver in the first week of Tokyo and the country’s women and men claiming gold and silver respectively in Sevens, high hopes were held for our sailors.
America’s Cup heroes Peter Burling and Blair Tuke overcame a poor start when Burling fell into the water to finish second in the 49er class. However they showed their class by clawing back from 12th to first before being relegated to third and second overall in the final race.
Unfortunately, it was the only medal return for our sailors.
However cyclists Ellesse Andrews (keirin) and Campbell Stewart (omnium) charged to silver medal glory with Andrews demonstrating tactical nous and speed and Stewart producing amazing stamina and courage in the points race.
Shot put champions Val Adams and Tom Walsh added to their Olympic count with bronze medals after Adams had scored two gold and a silver at previous Games and Walsh registering his first bronze at Rio 2016.
Heavyweight David Nyika joined Ted Morgan (gold), Kevin Barry (silver) and David Tua (bronze) to become New Zealand’s fourth boxer to win an Olympic medal,
Blessed with a sharp eye, nice balance. fast reflexes and good defence, Nyika should enjoy an outstanding professional career.
Twice a Commonwealth Games champion, it took a Russian world amateur champion to stop him fighting for gold in the Tokyo Olympic final.
Meanwhile congratulations to the Northern Mystics for their thrilling 61-59 win against the Mainland Tactix in the ANZ premier netball final.
With tall 19-year-old Grace Nweke scoring a game average 52.9 goals at an 89 per cent average, her combination with small, dynamic wing attack Elisapeta Toeava is sensational and bodes well for their Silver Fern prospects.
Frequently faced with the double marking of two of the country’s best defenders in Jane Watson and Karin Burger, Nweke soared high to defeat both from brilliant Toeava bullet passes.
It was a final worthy of rating among this country’s greatest.
- Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer