27 May 2024

Olympics 2024: New Zealand's top 10 medal prospects for Paris

9:43 am on 27 May 2024
Lisa Carrington (NZL) wins the Women's Kayak single 200m Gold medal.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Canoe sprint at Sea Forest Waterway, Japan on Tuesday 3 August 2021.

Dame Lisa Carrington at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Photosport / Steve McArthur

Aotearoa claimed its biggest-ever Olympic medal haul in Tokyo three years ago, winning 20 in total - seven of them gold.

Can that total be beaten in 2024?

We've cast our eye over New Zealand's top 10 medal prospects for the upcoming Olympics in Paris.

Lydia Ko - golf

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko (Bronze Medal) Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 7th August 2021.

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko (Bronze Medal) Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 7th August 2021. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021 / John Cowpland

Lydia Ko can complete a set of Olympic medals in Paris.

She won a silver medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and followed that up with a bronze medal in Tokyo.

Lydia Ko has always said that representing New Zealand at the Olympics was very special to her and that she was excited about doing it again in Paris.

The 27-year-old said returning to the Olympics and completing her medal collection was one of her biggest goals for 2024.

The games could be Ko's last. She is just one win away from being eligible for the LPGA Tour's Hall of Fame and it is just a matter of time before she achieves that and completes her golfing 'to do' list.

The LPGA Tour visits France for the Evian major Championship just a couple of weeks before the Olympics, with Ko then taking some time off to prepare for the games.

Victory for Ko would make her just the sixth New Zealander to win an Olympic gold, silver and bronze medal.

Hayden Wilde - triathlon

New Zealand triathlete Hayden Wilde.

New Zealand triathlete Hayden Wilde. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hayden Wilde may have surprised a few people with his bronze medal in Tokyo, but there won't be any surprise if he gets back on the podium again in Paris.

New Zealand has a tradition of Olympic success in the three-discipline event since it debuted in 2000.

Wilde, 26, is set to keep that tradition going this year.

He has four World Series victories and is consistently at the top of the world rankings.

If he can overcome swimming in the Seine River in the first leg in Paris, he should excel in his two favourite disciplines, the bike and the run which takes in the Champs-Élysées.

His rivalry with Briton Alex Yee is set to continue in Paris this year.

Wilde has focussed his entire 2024 season on winning gold in Paris

Luuka Jones - canoe slalom

White water canoe slalom athlete Luuka Jones in action

White water canoe slalom athlete Luuka Jones in action Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Luuka Jones will join a select group of New Zealanders after being selected for her fifth Olympics.

The Rio2016 silver medalist has rediscovered her passion after missing most of 2022 with long Covid.

While she remains a top-ranked slalom exponent, it could be one of the sport's new disciplines that gets her on the podium in Paris.

After 15 years of trying, Jones won her first World Cup title in 2023, winning a kayak cross event on the Paris Olympic course. Kayak cross is when four paddles go down the course at the same time.

The 35-year-old has changed her coach and training and is fully focussed on what will be her last Olympics.

She has said she wants to enjoy her last games and because of the help of her team she no longer has the self-doubt that affected her after her illness.

Ellesse Andrews - cycling

Ellesse Andrews.

Ellesse Andrews. Photo: photosport

Since claiming silver in the keirin in Tokyo, Ellesse Andrews has been at the top of her sport.

She won three gold medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and continued her form on the world stage with a gold medal in the keirin and a bronze in the sprint at the world championships in 2023.

The 24-year-old broke her collarbone in a fall in January, but made a successful return with victory at a Nations Cup event just over two months later.

Andrews will also compete in the sprint, but the keirin is set to bring her glory.

The event is where the cyclist rides behind an electric bike which progressively gets faster, before leaving the riders to sprint the final 750 metres.

New Zealand has only won one Olympic cycling gold medal and that was by Sarah Ulmer in 2004.

Dame Lisa Carrington - canoe

Dame Lisa Carrington.

Dame Lisa Carrington. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Canoe sprint has been one of New Zealand's most successful sports at recent games, thanks to Dame Lisa Carrington.

Carrington has won a gold medal at every Olympics since 2012, including three in Tokyo.

New Zealand's most successful Olympian should challenge for gold again in Paris as she competes in the K1, K2 and K4 races, the three events New Zealand won world championship titles in 2023.

34 year old Carrington will team up with Alicia Hoskin in the K2 and Hoskin, Tara Vaughan and Olivia Brett in the K4.

New Zealand will be in the hunt for medals in all those events.

Carrington is a three time K1-200 gold medalist, but she won't be defending that title in Paris as all canoe sprint events are now held over 500m only.

Her biggest competition in the single event may well come from fellow New Zealander Aimee Fisher, who beat her more illustrious team-mate at a World Cup regatta in May. Both paddlers went under the previous world best time in Hungary.

Erika Fairweather - swimming

New Zealand's Erika Fairweather celebrates winning the final of the women's 400m freestyle swimming event during the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

New Zealand's Erika Fairweather celebrates winning the final of the women's 400m freestyle swimming event during the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha. Photo: AFP

Only one New Zealand female swimmer has won an Olympic medal - and that was 72 years ago.

Dunedin's Erika Fairweather could be about to emulate Jean Stewart from the 1952 Helsinki games.

The 20-year-old will head to Paris as a world champion after claiming New Zealand's first ever world championship title with victory in the 400m freestyle in Doha earlier this year.

While a number of the world's best missed that meeting, she will still be considered a medal prospect in Paris.

Fairweather will compete in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle and the 200 freestyle relay.

She also won silver in the 200 freestyle at this year's world champs.

Lewis Clareburt - swimming

Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand in action.

Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Danyon Loader stands out as New Zealand's only Olympic swimming champion, but there is a good chance he'll be joined by Lewis Clareburt.

Clareburt won the 400m individual medley title at the world championships earlier this year and would have to be considered one of the favourites for the event in Paris.

The 24-year-old has not had the easiest build-up to the games, having been forced to leave his home town of Wellington and head to Auckland because of a lack of training space in the capital.

However he says with the issue now behind him he can now fully focus on training for the Olympics.

After making the Tokyo Olympic finals, but finishing down the field of both the 200 and 400 medleys, Clareburt is set to claim his place on the podium.

He will also race the 200 butterfly in Paris.

Black Ferns Sevens - rugby sevens

Michaela Blyde, Ruby Tui and Tyla Nathan-Wong New Zealand Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.


The Black Ferns Sevens have been on the podium both times since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 2016.

They were beaten by Australia in the 2016 final and beat France in the Tokyo final.

The Black Ferns' history in the sport is unrivalled having won the World Series title five times and were World Cup champions in 2013 and 2018.

They had a world record winning streaked snapped by Australia in December 2023.

Australia will again be the Ferns' main rival for gold in Paris as the two sides have battled for supremacy in recent years.

New Zealand has the experience with the likes of Sarah Hirini, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, Michaela Blyde, Stacey Waaka and Kelly Brazier, coupled with a couple of new stars in Jorja Miller and Risaleaana Pouri-Lane.

Eliza McCartney - athletics

New Zealand's Eliza McCartney competing at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships, Glasgow.

New Zealand's Eliza McCartney competing at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships, Glasgow. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After years of injury problems, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Eliza McCartney has emerged as one of the leading contenders for a medal.

Since Rio, McCartney battled a series of injuries, but in the last year has shown she's back to her best and in February broke her own national record.

Experience is going to count for a lot in Paris and the 27-year-old certainly has that.

She has experienced the ups and downs of being an elite athlete which have her in a good space in Paris.

McCartney has also credited new national pole vault coach Scott Simpson for her resurgence, saying they understand each other well.

She has a best of 4.84 metres this year, 10cm below her best, but in the heat of an Olympic competition McCartney is not likely to need a record vault to be in the medals.

Don't think Paris will be McCartney's swansong, with LA 2028 very much a possibility.

Dylan Schmidt - trampoline

Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Dylan Schmidt is probably the least known of New Zealand's medal contenders in Paris, but that will change if he can get back on the podium.

Schmidt won a bronze medal in the men's individual event in Tokyo and a year later was crowned world champion.

Paris will be his third Olympics, with "the chance to do something special".

The Auckland-based athlete was crowned World Champion in 2022, executing a brilliant routine for a score of 60.720.

He is the first New Zealand gymnast to have won an Olympic and World Championship medal.

Trampoline sees athletes perform routines composed of 10 elements which are scored according to their difficulty, execution and time spent in the air. Athletes bounce over eight metres into the air.

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