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New Zealand at the Olympics

The great sporting nation of New Zealand first competed at the Olympic Games as a separate country in 1920. Prior to that in the 1908 and 1912 Games, athletes from Australia and New Zealand competed together as a single team, designated Australasia. Three of the 12 medals won by the Australasian team were won by New Zealanders. 

Even in as early as 1900, New Zealand athletes have competed in the Summer Games. Victor Lindberg was part of the Osborne Swimming Club of Great Britain that represented Great Britain in the sport of water polo in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics, winning gold.

After the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZL) was officially recognized, New Zealand competed for the first time as an independent entity in 1920.

New Zealand is fairly consistent in their performance in the Summer Games taking home at least one Olympic medal in most of the Summer Games they attended. The only times that they came home empty handed was in 1948 and 1980.

Their first-ever Olympic gold as an independent country was in 1928 when boxer Ted Morgan took the top spot in the men's welterweight division. But Morgan was most definitely not the last Olympic gold medalist from New Zealand. As a matter of fact, since 1952, New Zealand has won gold in every Summer Games with the only exception being 1980.

The performance of New Zealand in the Winter Games is a bit different though. The country made its debut in the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, and since then has missed only the 1956 and 1964 Winter Games. However, their first-ever Winter Olympic medal did not come until 1992 when alpine skier Annelise Coberger won the silver for women's slalom in Albertville, France.

Kayaker Lisa Carrington is New Zealand's greatest ever Olympian, in terms of gold medals won. She won three gold medals at the Tokyo Games, making a total of six Olympic medals (5 gold, 1 bronze). This record surpasses the five medals won by fellow kayakers Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald, and equestrian rider Sir Mark Todd.


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