22 Aug 2016

Carrington to carry NZ flag at closing ceremony

6:48 am on 22 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - Lisa Carrington will lead the most successful Olympic Team in New Zealand's history into Maracana Stadium this morning as the Rio Games draw to a close.

Lisa Carrington with her gold and bronze medals at the Rio Olympics.

Lisa Carrington won bronze and gold medals in Rio. Photo: RNZ / Gael Woods

The kayaker was chosen for the honour after she became the first New Zealand female athlete to win two medals - gold and bronze - at a single Olympic Games.

New Zealand has wrapped up its most successful Olympic Games in Rio, winning 18 medals - four of them gold - and is set to officially finish 19th on the medal table.

The 199-strong contingent was the biggest Olympic team New Zealand had sent to a Games, and with $115 million poured into Olympic sports in the four years since London it was also the best funded.

Sailing and athletics were the most successful sports, returning four medals.

Olympic shooter Natalie Rooney with the silver medal she won in Rio.

Olympic shooter Natalie Rooney with the silver medal she won in Rio. Photo: RNZ / Barry Guy

But chef de mission Rob Waddell said one of the most pleasing aspects of New Zealand's Rio campaign was the success achieved in a diversity of sports.

He said there were surprise successes in sports like canoe slalom, shooting, and pole vaulting.

Waddell believes it's a good sign for the future.

"It wasn't just in our target and our expected sports, which is really positive.

"What I think that shows is, yes, there is higher amounts of funding that do go into some sports, but across the system now, that funding is spread in a way that we do have a base structure, which is enabling some of these other sports to benefit from that."