All that glitters is gold ...

By Kris Shannon

Double gold ... Richie Patterson and Phillipa Hale. Photo / Greg Bowker
Double gold ... Richie Patterson and Phillipa Hale. Photo / Greg Bowker

One precious piece of gold will soon be joined by another for Richie Patterson.

The Kiwi weightlifter will on Friday follow his victory in the 85kg competition at the Commonwealth Games by marrying partner and teammate Phillipa Hale.

The couple will wed in a small ceremony at Pollok House, a heritage building outside Glasgow, with both weightlifters' families in attendance.

Watch: Patterson lifts gold


And it's only appropriate the pair will exchange rings three days after Patterson earned himself another bit of bling.

After settling for silver four years ago in Delhi, Patterson questioned his future in his sport. He had set out with the sole aim of winning gold and, when it didn't happen, the then 27-year-old did not know where to turn.

Until he met Hale.

"After Delhi I was really disappointed and I stepped back from training for about six months and took on a number of athletes [for coaching]," he said. "I was lucky enough that one of my athletes is now my partner.

"My meeting Pip spurred me on, because I had a training partner and our life then revolved around weightlifting. We opened a gym and it allowed me to continue a professional career and be an athlete."

That career culminated yesterday with a heart-stopping win at the Clyde Auditorium.

Patterson was in danger of going empty-handed to his wedding after a pair of no-lifts in the clean-and-jerk that were set to render Delhi's disappointment an unmitigated success by comparison.

But, with coach Adam Storey, he calmed himself backstage before re-entering the arena and lifting the 184kg needed for the win.

The first couple of Kiwi weightlifting would hope there are no such last-minute nerves on Friday. It's an occasion that has yet to provoke Patterson into much fretting.

"It's kind of weird, because most people would stress about their wedding, but I've been worried more about the competition," he laughed.

"I always said I was coming here for my gold but, either way, I was getting a piece of gold at the end of it anyway. So now I get two."

Hale, too, had an excuse for being preoccupied before her big day. The 29-year-old competed in the 53kg class on Saturday and, while unable to make it matching medals, she did set a New Zealand record.

With both Patterson and Hale having active athletic careers along with work lives, a few of weeks away in Glasgow actually provided perfect timing for the union.

"It's very difficult, because our lives are so busy, to get everything together," Patterson said. "And because I own a gym, when you own a gym in New Zealand and you have a wedding, your wedding list is about 150 people. It's just a nice, small ceremony with family."

It could have been much bigger, considering the number of fellow Kiwis currently in Glasgow, but the couple opted to "keep it pretty quiet".

Patterson will retain his full beard for the ceremony, having vowed to grow one after losing the last of his hair when opening the gym, but there is one thing he must leave behind.

"The rule was no medals," he said.

- NZ Herald

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