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All but nine of New Zealand's 1111 Olympians have been located ahead of this week's celebrations commemorating the country's Olympic history.

Earlier this month, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) went public to track down 21 "missing" Olympians, who all competed at Games between 1964 and 1972.

A further 12 were located, leaving just nine still to be found. Of the total 1111 athletes, 988 have been found either directly or through family, while 114 have died.

In total, 580 New Zealand Olympians or members of their family will attend one of 17 functions around New Zealand this week when they will be awarded uniquely numbered Olympic pins.

The remaining commemorative pins will be delivered to New Zealand Olympians around the world.

The athletes yet to be located include gymnast Terry Sale, who competed in the ill-fated 1972 Munich Olympics, yachtie Bob Eastmond (Montreal 1976) and a quartet from the 1992 Barcelona Games - cyclist Joann Burke, boxer Sililo Figota, judoka Nicola Morris and swimmer Nick Sanders.

Archer Andrew Lindsay and swimmer Dionne Bainbridge are have not been located from the Atlanta Games team of 1996. Alpine skier Mattias Hubrich, who competed at the 1984 Sarajevo winter Olympics, completes the list.

An NZOC spokeswoman said the missing athletes' pins and certificates would be held at New Zealand Olympic Museum in Wellington until they were found.

Among those attending functions this week is New Zealand's oldest living Olympian, 86-year-old Harold Nelson who represented New Zealand over 5000m and 10,000m at the 1948 London Olympics.

Two other members of the seven-strong London team are still living - swimmer Ngaire Galloway, 84, and weightlifter Maurice Crow, 85. Nelson and Galloway will receive their pins in Nelson tomorrow, while Crow will be honoured at a function in New Plymouth tonight.

Olympic athletics gold medallists Sir Murray Halberg and Sir John Walker will receive their pins in Auckland tomorrow. The same function will also honour the first New Zealander to win a gold medal in athletics, the late Jack Lovelock who won the 1500m at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His pin will be presented to nephew Mike Butler on behalf of the Lovelock family.

Yvette Corlett, the first New Zealand woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the long jump at Helsinki in 1952, will receive her pin at a function in Manukau tonight.

Today is Olympic Day, which marks 115 years since the founding of the modern Olympic Games by Pierre de Coubertin.