New Zealand has stumbled upon a couple of world class teenaged triple jumpers who have opted to turn their back on representing South Africa, where they live.
Brothers Welré and Ethan Olivier are hidden gems with the potential to be Olympic stars.
The brilliant youngsters, near the best in the world for their age, hold New Zealand passports obtained when their family lived in Auckland over a decade ago.
Welré, aged 18, was a tot when the family shifted to New Zealand from South Africa while 15-year-old Ethan was born here.
The Olivier name has already made a significant mark in New Zealand athletics, usurping some of the oldest Kiwi records.
Welré also looks poised to beat the oldest senior athletics field mark – the long jump record set by Northlander Bob Thomas in 1968.
But their impact could be far greater than that.
Their father Wikus, a champion triple jumper himself and the boys' coach, confirmed to the Herald that 18-year-old Welré had definitely switched allegiance to New Zealand and Ethan, aged 15, was set to do the same when the time was appropriate.
This can become set in stone at the world junior championships, the next ones being held in August. Both boys have also indicated they would like to eventually make New Zealand their home again.
This represents an amazing coup for New Zealand, which punches above its weight in field events.
Shot put superstars Dame Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh have led the way, and Jacko Gill was a junior sensation. North Harbour's Connor Bell – the world's best under-20 discus thrower by some margin – could be the next big thing.
But New Zealand is not so successful in what might be termed more technical field events, with Eliza McCartney's Olympic pole vault bronze medal an exception.
The Oliviers may help change that.
Tim Driesen, a high performance leader at Athletics NZ who has been liaising with the Oliviers in Gauteng, told the Herald he hopes the boys' presence will spur Kiwi jumpers to greater feats.
Welré had already hit the qualifying mark to represent New Zealand at the world junior (under-20) championships in Kenya last year before it was postponed because of Covid-19.
He is ranked fifth on World Athletics' under-20 triple jump list, with almost all of the other top jumpers a year or so older than him.
Welré, who will study sports science, is about to join the University of Northern Colorado's athletics team where he will be coached by four-time Bahamas Olympic triple jumper Leevan Sands, who won the 2008 bronze medal in Beijing.
This move will also equal perfect timing as he prepares for the world junior championships, should they proceed.
Ethan, despite being just 15, is only 33cm short of the 15.60m qualifying mark and is ranked ninth on the world under-18 list.
While their main focus is the triple jump, Welré is also ranked eighth in the world in long jump.
Wikus and his wife Tracey, whose family has a strong athletics pedigree, shifted to New Zealand in 2004, settling in the east Auckland suburb of Dannemora. Tracey taught at St Kentigern College, and Wikus was an assistant buyer for an appliance chain.
All of the family hold New Zealand passports, having gone through the citizenship procedure here, and the boys are registered with the Pakuranga athletics club.
But the Olivier's decision to represent New Zealand did not come without some angst.
Speaking to the Herald from the family's home in Vereeniging near Johannesburg, Wikus said they made the decision after Welré was overlooked for South Africa's junior team to the Africa Games. He was the national junior champion and ranked eighth in the world at the time.
"Athletics has a quota system similar to rugby and other sports," he said.
"We followed the right procedure with Athletics New Zealand and World Athletics. Welré had never formally represented South Africa - they had only assumed he did.
"Twenty-nine American universities contacted Welré offering scholarships - we didn't even get a phone call from a South African university … more politics."
This unusual New Zealand sports story can be traced back to when Wikus – frustrated at his lack of progress in the high jump – tried the triple jump.
He excelled, winning the South African title, a silver medal at the 1993 African championships, and competing at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
Wikus coaches a number of youngsters, but concentrates mainly on his two boys and the results are proving spectacular.
Welré's march through the New Zealand record books includes bettering the under-17 triple jump mark of 14.89 metres set by Dave Norris in 1956. Welré jumped 15.08 in 2019, only for Ethan to better that with a 15.27 jump at Potchefstroom a few months ago.
Last year, Welré wiped out five other Kiwi junior triple and long jump records set over the past 60-odd years by Norris, Nigel Avery, Tom Davie and Grant Birkinshaw.
But there is one far more significant record to beat.
In 1968, long jumper Thomas – from Kawakawa – hurtled to an amazing 8.05 metres at Whangarei's Okara Park, his favourite venue. With car headlights helping provide the illumination, Thomas - who died five years ago - jumped out of his skin that night to beat Norris.
Welré reached 7.73m in November, and unless he concentrates solely on the triple jump, it seems only a matter of time before the Thomas record is finally broken.
Norris, a Kiwi athletic icon, has taken a special interest in the boys' rise, making contact with the family and carefully tracking their career.
He still wonders if South Africa may snare the boys back before they confirm their Kiwi connection in competition.
But while there are apparently pockets of disquiet over New Zealand records tumbling in a foreign land, Norris has no such qualms.
He almost revels in the mysterious element of the story, of "two teeenage boys displaying the potential to represent New Zealand internationally, who have never been seen in competitions in this country, and even within the sport only a few have ever heard of".
He said it was time these longstanding records were beaten, their longevity an indictment on the quality of New Zealand athletics.
"Within the next few years they could rewrite the entire New Zealand records list for the two jumps," Norris said from his home at Mangawhai.
"It's never nice to lose a record. But I have no objection to it. When you do sport, you agree to observe the rules of the game.
"If someone has a New Zealand passport and is affiliated to a New Zealand club, it counts. Emotional reactions don't matter."
There is also a chance the entire family could return to New Zealand once Ethan has finished school.
Wikus Olivier said returning to South Africa after his father died had been a wrench, and the emotions he expressed about it reflect those of many migrants through the ages.
"It was a huge decision and a stupid one maybe," he said.
"We've got mixed feelings - there are a lot of pros and cons. It wasn't an easy decision. Sometimes I miss New Zealand, sometimes I'm glad to be back here."