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Celebrating 1,111 New Zealand Olympians

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

16 June 2009 - Sporting heroes and local dignitaries will gather in Palmerston North next week to celebrate 1,111 New Zealand Olympians.

The 2008 Olympic Games marked 100 years of New Zealand Olympic history and at Beijing the 1000th Olympian wore the silver fern. This year, the New Zealand Olympic Committee together with the Olympians Club of New Zealand will honour each of these athletes through a series of sixteen functions around New Zealand.

Coordinated by Sport Manawatu, more than 30 of the region's Olympians and supporters will gather on Thursday June 25 at Te Manawa including Kayla Sharland, Emily Naylor, Tara Drysdale, Robert Eastham, Bruce Turner and Tinks Pottinger. Each of the Olympians will be presented with an exclusively designed Olympic pin featuring the rings and fern and the Olympian's unique number. Olympians will also receive a commemorative certificate signed by IOC President Jacques Rogge and the NZOC Secretary General, Barry Maister.

The event is also being celebrated through a display at the iSite in Palmerston North. The public are encouraged to head down there and see what it takes to become an Olympian.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Barry Maister who will be the MC at the function says honouring our Olympians is timely and important. "In 100 years of Olympic history just 1,000 New Zealanders have been able to call themselves an Olympian. These special people have created history and inspired generations of New Zealanders. Sir John Walker, Mahe Drysdale, Kris Gemmell and others make up the fabric of our society and we're proud to honour them within our communities."

A New Zealand Olympian is an athlete who has been both selected into the New Zealand Olympic Team and has been accredited into the team at the Olympic Games.

The function in Palmerston North takes place as around the world communities celebrate Olympic Day on June 23. Olympic Day is a celebration of the Olympic Movement and its values of excellence, friendship and respect. In New Zealand school children have been invited to participate in the Olympic Day Run and a series of lectures about the Olympic Games are being held in Auckland and Wellington. A New Zealand Olympians Wall of Honour will be unveiled in the Olympic Museum Gallery in Wellington.

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