The first New Zealand athlete has been selected to wear the rings and fern and represent New Zealand with pride come the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia this February.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee and Ice Speed Skating New Zealand have announced the selection of Speed Skater Shane Dobbin.
Dobbin, who represented New Zealand at the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver 2010 in the 5000m, has been selected to compete in both the 5,000m and 10,000m long track events in 2014.
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith believes Dobbin to be a great asset to the New Zealand team.
"Shane is a great competitor and has proved himself with consistent performances on the international circuit," Smith said, "his experience with the Olympic Games is vital to the New Zealand team considering the amount of first-time competitors currently aiming to qualify."
Dobbin himself is proud to once again be representing New Zealand.
"You never quite get over that feeling of wearing the Silver Fern and Olympic rings on your chest, so now after all the training and hard work I get to relive those moments and hopefully improve on my 2010 performance," Dobbin said.
Ice Speed Skating New Zealand's qualification criteria meant that Dobbin had to compete in 50% of the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup events in 2013/2014. He then had to place in the top 50% of the field in 50% of those events in order to be selected for the New Zealand Olympic Winter team.
SHANE DOBBIN RESULTS 2013
Sochi 22 Mar '13 5,000m 10th (field 24)
Sochi 23 Mar '13 10,000m 6th (field 14)
Calgary 8-10 Nov '13 5,000m 17th (field 55)
Salt Lake 15-17 Nov '13 5,000m 15th (field 55)
Astana 29 Nov-1 Dec '13 10,000m 20th (field 41)
Berlin 6-8 Dec '13 5,000m 18th (field 52)
Fellow New Zealand Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup has not been allocated a quota spot and is awaiting notification from the ISU whether or not he is offered a reallocated quota spot for the XII Olympic Winter Games.
The New Zealand Olympic Team is expected to be made up of around 15 athletes across both ice and snow sports with the majority of athletes competing in the freeski and snowboard events.
New Zealand Olympic Team Selection will be complete by late January 2014.
The Sochi Olympic Games take place 7 – 23 February 2014.
Age At Games: 34
Birthplace: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Residence: Gold Coast, Australia
Former Inline Skating World Champion Shane Dobbin switched codes to Speed Skating prior to the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver 2010. Dobbin entered the Men's 5000m and placed 17th.