1 Lisa Carrington

The break-out star from the London Olympics, Carrington is chasing a canoe sprint double in Rio. The 26-year-old is attempting to defend her Olympic title in the K1 200m, and will this year add the K1 500m to her programme. If she is successful, Carrington will become the first New Zealand woman to win a gold medal double at the same Olympics.

2 Lydia Ko

With women's golf set to be included in the Olympic programme for the first time this year, Ko could make history in Rio as the first Olympic champion in her sport. The world No1 will be of the few genuine global superstars in the New Zealand team.


3 Valerie Adams

Already considered among New Zealand's greatest Olympians, Adams' status will be elevated even further if she can overcome her injury setbacks to stand atop the dais in Rio. The shot-put queen is seeking to become the first Kiwi woman to claim three Olympic golds.

4 Eliza McCartney

Pole vault star McCartney catapulted herself into Olympic medal contention only recently following a remarkable record spree over summer. The 19-year-old has beaten her own national record on several occasions already this year, with her record of 4.80m putting her among the world's elite. After finishing fifth at the world indoor champs in Portland last month, the Olympic podium is in McCartney's sights.

5 Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie

One of the surprise packages in London, Aleh and Powrie are seeking to become the first New Zealand sailors to secure back-to-back Olympic golds. The 470 crew, collectively known as Team Jolly, have again flown under the radar in the lead-up to Rio but are expected to be in the medal mix.