The New Zealand Team today celebrates its centenary and 100 Years of the silver fern at Olympic Games.
It was in Antwerp in 1920 that the first New Zealand Team marched into an Olympic Opening Ceremony as an independent nation, competing in black with a silver fern.
Today the New Zealand Team to Olympic Games is made up of 1387 Olympians, spanning 25 Summer Olympic Games,16 Winter Olympic Games and 123 Olympic medals. Our Olympic teams have shaped our nation's history, inspired young New Zealanders and helped create international reputation for integrity and excellence. The New Zealand Team today is also made up of generations of Commonwealth Games and more recently, Pacific Games, athletes.
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith says the 100-year anniversary is an appropriate occasion to look back and reflect on the impact of the New Zealand Team at Olympic Games.
“From Jack Lovelock winning our first Olympic athletics gold in in 1936, to Dame Yvette Williams becoming our first woman to win Olympic gold, Sir Peter Snell’s double in Tokyo in 1964 and teenagers Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous winning bronze within hours of each other in PyeongChang in 2018, there have been countless inspiring moments,” said Smith.
"Today New Zealanders tell us the New Zealand Team inspires excellence and our athletes are role models for young New Zealanders, visiting tens of thousands of school children each year. Athletes are proud to be representing our nation and believe being part of a strong and unique New Zealand Team gives them a performance edge when it matters most.
"The Olympic Games showcase New Zealand and our culture and values to billions of people across the globe.
"We’re extremely proud of the New Zealand Team and its positive impact in New Zealand and around the world.
"We also honour and remember the New Zealand athletes that marched as "Australasians" at the Olympic Games in London 1908 and Stockholm 1912, as well as those New Zealanders who were unable to attend the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympic Games."
Rio 2016 flagbearer and two time Olympic medallist Peter Burling says he’s honoured to have played a role in 100 years of New Zealand Team history.
“The Olympic Games have been a big part of my sailing career. I remember watching our athletes competing at the Games when I was a kid and it inspired me to push hard to achieve my goals,” said Burling.
“I’m really proud to be a member of the New Zealand Team, competing at the Olympic Games is really special and we really hope to be adding to 100 years of New Zealand Olympic history in Tokyo next year.”
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach sent a video message to the New Zealand Team.
“New Zealand has written Olympic history and the silver fern is a symbol of your sporting success and dedication to our common Olympic values. All the best for the next 100 years,” said Bach.
New Zealand Governor-General, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, also sent through a video message for the team.
"We're inspired by the men and women who have represented us, and their triumphs have been imprinted into the national memory," said Dame Patsy.
A History with Impact
The New Zealand Team has attended 25 Summer Olympic Games and 16 Winter Olympic Games with 1387 Olympians representing New Zealand at the Games, winning a total of 123 medals.
The 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games marked the first time New Zealanders marched into the Opening Ceremony of an Olympic Games wearing the Silver Fern as the New Zealand Team. Prior to this New Zealanders attended the Olympic Games in 1908 and 1912 as part of the Australasian Team.
In Antwerp swimmer Violet Walrond (OLY#9) was the first New Zealand woman to compete at the Olympic Games. As a teenage girl, she had to be chaperoned by her father, stay in her room while her teammates were training, and she wasn’t even allowed to attend the all-male team function on her return.