Rotorua has a new Olympian. And he'll be hoping the rest of his road to Rio won't be quite as bumpy as the last couple of weeks has been.

The announcement yesterday Kane Radford will be going to Rio after initially being denied a place was a welcome piece of happy news after a sombre Monday in the newsroom.

Sport is not life and death and a non-selection for an Olympic Games is not a tragedy.

But I can only imagine for Radford it may have felt, maybe not tragic, then a crushing disappointment, when he was initially denied an Olympic spot by selectors.


Athletes' careers can be fleeting. In their prime years they invest everything to make it to the top of their sport - time, money, physical and emotional effort. They choose to sacrifice to get there. Their families do too. All to achieve an ultimate goal, which doesn't come much bigger than the Olympics.

To feel you have earned that spot, but to have it taken away from you, must have been devastating.

Radford's non-selection prompted a backlash within the swimming community, who saw it as a slap in the face for Radford, despite Swimming New Zealand's insistence it was just abiding by the criteria set out by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

They will now be celebrating, as will Radford (although not too much - he does after all have an Olympics to prepare for!) with the news the New Zealand Sports Tribunal overturned that and Swimming New Zealand changed its mind. They reckon he can finish in the top 16 in the Olympics so are giving Radford the chance to do just that.

Of course in sport there are always those that miss out. Spare a thought for Radford's fellow open water swimmer Charlotte Webby. The New Plymouth swimmer was in the same predicament as Radford, but her appeal was unsuccessful.

Having never met Radford, I was surprised by how excited I felt for him. Maybe it's because I'm one of those that love the Olympics - camping out in the lounge all night to cheer on people with talent and drive I can only dream of having. Having another local to cheer for makes it that much more exciting.

24 Jun, 2016 7:30pm
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28 Jun, 2016 3:40pm
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Go hard Kane - Rotorua is behind you.