ANNELISE COBERGER
Skiing
1971

The first person from the southern hemisphere to medal at the Winter Olympics

Until this year, Annelise Coberger was New Zealand's only Winter Olympic medallist. A lonely record she held for more than 25 years, until this year saw teenagers Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous claim bronze medals in South Korea.

The 20-year-old slalom skier won silver at Albertville in 1992, becoming the first athlete from the southern hemisphere to medal at the Winter Olympics.

The moment remains one of New Zealand's finest sporting achievements, with the Kiwi nearly claiming gold in the event, before being pipped at the last minute by Austrian star Petra Kronberger.

Christchurch-born Coberger began skiing at the age of three. Her family were skiing fanatics. Her grandfather Oscar ran a ski business at Arthur's Pass in the 40s, while her father was a national champion. Both her brother and sister were members of the national ski team - but it was Annelise who was tipped for success early on.

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She began competing internationally at the age of 15 but faced a number of obstacles on her path to Olympic glory. Competitive skiing is an expensive pursuit - especially when you live on the other side of the world to the key European competitions - and there was a lack of funding available for the sport in New Zealand.

Still, Coberger persevered, going on to win the German junior slalom championship. She also became the first New Zealander to win a Europa Cup event, before winning the World Cup slalom in 1992.

Following her Olympic achievements, Coberger continued her successful run until the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, where she failed to place and retired from the sport soon after.

But her accomplishments inspired a generation of snow-loving Kiwis to follow their dreams and opened doors for funding opportunities and support that didn't exist beforehand.

To date, New Zealanders have won a total of 120 Olympic medals, just three of which have come from winter sports.