Rio Olympics 2016: Form less important for Olympics, says sport NZ boss

The All Blacks sevens were a disappointment. Photo / Photosport
The All Blacks sevens were a disappointment. Photo / Photosport

The old rule of thumb that world championship form a year out from an Olympic Games is a solid indicator of medal prospects needs reassessment according to Sport New Zealand boss Peter Miskimmin.

Speaking on the day New Zealand's rowers finished their Rio campaign with two gold medals and one bronze, two fewer than their overall return from London in 2012, and questions being asked about their performance against the pile of funding - a whopping $32.069 million over the four-year Olympic cycle - provided by the taxpayer, Miskimmin reinforced the view that winning Olympic medals is a tough business.

Their target has been 14 medals, one more than in London. There have been close calls in rowing and cycling in particular, and Miskimmin said it's no longer safe to say there cannot be significant changes in the pecking order in those final 12 months of the cycle.

"In previous years the results leading into the Games have been a pretty good indicator.

I don't think we can say that any more," he said on Veitch on Sport.

"There was a lot of speculation (where) some media had us getting 20-plus (medals). We always knew this environment is red hot.

"You win and lose by inches. Everyone prepares for four years now and do everything they can to be in the best shape of their lives. Global sport is tough, we're learning that and still doing well in it."

Miskimmin acknowledged there is a "hard edge" to the Olympics from a Government perspective in terms of money invested and outcomes achieved. But he's not throwing in the towel on New Zealand's prospects of making a good jump in the second week of the Games.

The likes of kayaker Lisa Carrington, a projection of a solid sailing medal haul, golfer Lydia Ko, shot putter Tom Walsh and possibly at least one, if not two national hockey teams can add lustre to New Zealand's return this week.

"We are halfway through proceedings and I think we are tracking towards that 14-plus medals," Miskimmin said.

"(Olympics) have their own rhythm and personality. This one has taken on a different one from others.

"You have good days and bad days and keep looking forward. We still have a lot to look forward to and hopefully some magical moments in the coming week. But there are times you despair for athletes and all the hard work that's gone into it."

Miskimmin was reluctant to discuss sports which had fallen short of delivering on expectations.

"I don't want to get into any particular programme here. Everyone reflects after their performances here. We're halfway through and it would be disrespectful to athletes to start picking over any individual programme."

However Miskimmin did dwell on the sevens rugby programme from their first Olympics, where the women won a silver medal but the men finished a hugely disappointing fifth.

"I think being one of the new sports into the high performance Olympic environment, there'll be a lot of learnings from that. Rugby will need to review and look at what sevens will look like in four years' time; what type of players they need, what type of programme they require.

"It is complicated in rugby where you have contracted players, but they've got to work a way through."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 26 Oct 2016 00:57:26 Processing Time: 660ms