Weightlifter Richie Patterson, who came back from silver in Delhi to win gold in Glasgow, has been named flag bearer of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team at a casual team ceremony in the athletes' village.
Completing a golden games that included not only a gold medal in the men’s 85kg but a wedding ring, too, Patterson says he feels exceptionally privileged. “It’s been such a successful campaign for the New Zealand team,” he said. “I feel very grateful to have been to be given this honour and to lead everyone in to the Closing Ceremony.”
Chef de Mission Rob Waddell said the decision to name the athlete to lead the team into the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony was very tough. “There have been so many outstanding athletes and performances here at Glasgow and it was incredibly difficult to choose one.”
Patterson was selected not only for his success at Glasgow but his commitment to performance and contribution to the wider team.
“Richie knew he wanted to win gold and become part of New Zealand history. He came fourth at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, then finished with silver at Delhi 2010. He was not deterred and in the end achieved his dream of standing on top of the dais.
“While focusing on his own performance, he also helped coach younger members of the weightlifting team in Glasgow.”
Waddell added that Richie also represented the outstanding success of the variety of sports and athletes that have excelled here in Glasgow. “The success across a full range of sports in Glasgow has been phenomenal said Waddell.
"There have been athletes winning medals here in Glasgow that manage full and part-time jobs while training to the highest levels. In selecting Richie for flag bearer I also acknowledge the success of all the athletes who have succeeded here in Glasgow.”
Patterson, who will now head to Nanjing, China for the Youth Olympic Games (August 16 – 23) as coach of the New Zealand weightlifting team, says the games has meant the world to him.
“Winning gold brought a sense of relief. It was something so deep, the desire to be part of New Zealand history. “It’s been a fantastic experience to be competing, but it’s been also amazing to being part of other people’s journeys too. I really enjoy seeing the emotion and I know for some it’s the lighting of a fire that will see them come back, either to realise a dream or to defend a title. It’s been an incredible experience.”
Patterson will lead around 150 New Zealand athletes and support staff into the Closing Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park tonight at nine pm.
Patterson married business and training partner and fellow Commonwealth Games athlete Phillipa Hale at a ceremony in Glasgow last Thursday (31st July), just two days after winning gold.