Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Ultimate honour for Bay Olympians

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Flag bearer Lisa Carrington of New Zealand walks during the 'Heroes of the Games' segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium
Flag bearer Lisa Carrington of New Zealand walks during the 'Heroes of the Games' segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium

The next generation of athletes will be inspired by the success of the region's Olympians at Rio, Mayor Stuart Crosby says.

His comment comes after Tauranga-born Lisa Carrington was given the honour of carrying the New Zealand flag at the closing ceremony, yesterday.

Sailing duo and gold medallists Peter Burling, from Tauranga, and Blair Tuke had the honour at the opening ceremony two weeks ago.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said it was a huge honour and they had made the region proud.

There would be plenty of inspired young athletes across the Bay as a result of New Zealand's Olympic performance, winning more medals than ever before.

"When there is success there is an uplift in interest [in those sports] which is tremendous, particularly from young people who see the Olympic athletes as heroes and want to emulate them."

Western Bay mayor Ross Paterson was "thrilled to bits" that both flag bearers represented the Bay of Plenty.

"It's recognition that we have quite a depth of athletes - Olympians and other."

Carrington, back-to-back gold and bronze canoe sprint medallist, was chosen for the honour after she became the first New Zealand female athlete to win two medals at a single Olympic Games, and also became one of just three New Zealand women who have won three Olympic medals.

Carrington has been an on-and-off competitor for Mt Maunganui Surf Club and head coach John Bryant coached her in the early part of her career.

"The fact that she gets to carry the flag is a huge honour for herself, her family, New Zealand and everyone who has been associated with her."

Mr Bryant said he could not say enough good things about Carrington and her family in the 10 years he's known them.

"Last year she came and managed the Under 16 girls at regionals. You don't get many Olympians doing that so of course the kids just loved it."

He said she was a huge inspiration to the kids at Mount Surf Club.

The pinnacle of winning two gold medals, and a bronze, at the Olympics showed what good planning and programming could do.

"Her dad was a huge influence in pointing her in the right direction and setting up the people around her to make sure she achieved her goals."

She put the hard work in and her parents supported her.

"You can see where Lisa gets such a great attitude from - the family is such a great family," Mr Bryant said.

The facts on Rio:

Rio de Janeiro or simply 'Rio' is the capital of the Brazilian State of Rio de Janeiro and the third largest metropolis in the country with a population of 6.3 million people. Part of the city was recognized as a world heritage site in 2012. Read the facts below to find out where and why.

The name 'Rio de Janeiro' is Portuguese for 'River of January' and was given to the city by the captaincy of the Portuguese Empire in 1565, the date the city was established.

Christ the Redeemer landmark on the top of Corcovada Mountain is one of the most recognized features of Rio and has on several occasions been named one of the Seven Wonders of the World.​

Brazil's most famous dance - samba - has its origins from the African slaves that worked in the plantations in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

With over 50 kilometers of white and golden sand beaches, Rio is Brazil's tourism capital.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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