Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Rio Olympics: Prospect of a landmark year for NZ women

Olympic bosses believe this year's Games will be a defining moment for women's sport in New Zealand.

Kiwi women are tipped to lead the way in the New Zealand medal count and feature prominently in the event coverage, with the likes of Lisa Carrington, Lydia Ko and Valerie Adams headlining the team for Rio.

"These Olympic Games may well be a landmark year for women's sport," said Kereyn Smith, the Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

"What we've seen since 2004 is a gradual increase in female participants and success in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games environment. And the way things are pointing this year, we're really excited about the potential and performance of our female athletes."

Over the past year, New Zealand athletes achieved placings at world championship level or its equivalent in 24 Olympic medal events. Of those results, 14 were achieved by women.

While world championship placings are by no means guaranteed to convert to Olympic medals, it is a strong indicator of the team's potential for success.

Carrington is hoping to become the first New Zealand woman to claim two gold medals at the same Games as she chases the 200m/500m double in the K1; Adams has her sights on becoming the first female triple gold medallist; Eliza McCartney could net the country's first Olympic medal in the pole vault and the 470 crew of Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are seeking to scoop back-to-back golds.

- NZ Herald

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