Nikki Payne and Lynley Hannen paved the way for other more famous New Zealand women’s rowing duos, including Philippa Baker and Brenda Lawson, Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, and Juliette Haigh and Nicky Coles.
Sam Bewley joined a select group of New Zealand Olympians in London in 2012 by winning medals at successive Olympics.
Bewley teamed with Marc Ryan, Wesley Gough, Jesse Sergent and Aaron Gate to win the bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit, repeating the feat that Bewley, Ryan, Sergent and Hayden Roulston had achieved at Beijing in 2008.
Rod Dixon was arguably the most versatile runner ever produced by New Zealand.
Among his accomplishments:
* A bronze medal in the 1972 Olympic 1500m.
* Two second placings in the world cross-country champs, nine years apart.
* Victory in the 1983 New York marathon.
* A 17-year career as a New Zealand representative.
Peter Welsh is a bit of a mystery figure in New Zealand sport, one of those athletes who had one truly magnificent day when he was as good as anyone in the world.
Shortly before his death in 1994, Arthur Porritt was musing on the irony of his life. Through his long life, Porritt achieved an enormous amount, yet he considered he was best remembered for something he did way back in 1924 in less than 11 seconds.
For some years, Dick Quax had a love-hate relationship with the New Zealand public.
Until Danyon Loader’s arrival, Anthony Mosse was arguably the finest swimmer produced by New Zealand.
Nick Willis earned his third Commonwealth Games 1500m medal in Glasgow, taking bronze in what is becoming Willis' signature sprint finish. Nick had previously won gold in Melbourne, 2006, bronze in Delhi, 2010, and now adds another bronze to his repertoire. He also competed in the 5000m.
Jesse Sergent, born in Feilding in 1988, has become one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed cyclists.
He showed early on he could mix it with the best, when he was a member of the 2005 gold medal-winning team pursuit at the junior world championships.
John Walker, the third of New Zealand’s triumvirate of great milers, was very much a man of his times. Whereas his predecessors, Jack Lovelock and Peter Snell, were understated and tended to shy away from publicity, Walker was always comfortable in front of the television cameras.
Cecil Matthews was known as “the Nurmi of the Empire” after his brilliant running at the 1938 Sydney Empire Games. In the athletics world, there could have been no higher praise. Paavo Nurmi was a wonderful Finnish distance athlete who won 12 Olympic medals - nine gold, three silver - between 1920 and 1928. Some still say he was the greatest distance runner ever.
Don Oliver and Les Mills were friends, training companions and sports rivals for years. Later they became business rivals, but their friendship remained as strong as ever.
Mills, who won several Commonwealth Games shot and discus gold medals, was the founder of the immensely successful Les Mills World of Fitness gyms.
It’s doubtful if any New Zealand sportsman has run the gamut of public emotion like cherubic-faced sailor Russell Coutts.
All the talk in the modern era of big-time athletics about money and drugs was lost on Stan Lay.
Lay, who died in 2003, just before his 97th birthday, was at his peak between the two world wars when neither money nor drugs was a factor.
Dave Gerrard covered the full gamut really – champion swimmer, sports doctor, Olympic and Commonwealth Games team selector and New Zealand team chef de mission.