Six-time Olympic medallist Dame Lisa Carrington has been awarded the Lonsdale Cup for 2021, the New Zealand Olympic committee's top award.
Carrington is Aotearoa's most decorated Olympian and has now claimed the Lonsdale Cup three times.
At the Tokyo Olympic Games Carrington won three gold medals, taking her Olympic medal total to six, including five gold and one bronze.
Carrington made her Olympic debut at London 2012 where she claimed gold in the K1 200. Four years later she defended her gold medal, and won bronze in the K1 500.
At the Tokyo Olympic Games she competed in 12 races in the space of six days. Not only did she win her third consecutive K1 200 gold medal (in an Olympic best time of 38.12s), but she also won gold in the K1 500 and K2 500 and ended her campaign with a fourth placing in the K4 500. Her success in Tokyo made her the first New Zealand female to claim three successive Olympic gold medals.
"I'm thrilled with what we managed to achieve last year and would like to thank everyone who was involved in our campaign. I feel very lucky to be a professional athlete and I can't wait to get back out there and keep wearing the fern and representing New Zealand," Carrington said.
"It's just really nice to be recognised for a big Olympics. Not necessarily having the welcome home from Tokyo - due to going into lockdown - it's really nice to be here and be presented the award.
"I look at this and I see Murray Halberg, Sarah Ulmer, Valerie Adams, such amazing sportspeople, so that's what's so special about this award; is having my name alongside them."
NZOC President Mike Stanley extended his congratulations.
"Dame Lisa's achievements in Tokyo are nothing short of remarkable," said Stanley.
"The drive, determination and grit that went into that campaign is huge and inspired New Zealanders up and down the country.
"Congratulations on writing yet another chapter in New Zealand's proud sporting history, we are very proud to present you with the Lonsdale Cup."
On the World Championship stage, Carrington has won ten world championship golds - including seven successive K1 200m titles - and a total medal haul of 17. She is a four-time winner of the Sportswoman of the Year award at the Halberg Awards. In 2016 she claimed the Halberg Supreme Award and in 2021 was presented the honour of Halberg Sportswoman of the Decade.
Raised in Ohope Beach the canoe sprint paddler is of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki and Ngāti Porou, and was judged as the most influential Māori sports personality of the past 30 years.
The Lonsdale Cup is the New Zealand Olympic Committee's most prestigious award and is presented annually by the New Zealand Olympic Committee to the athlete or team that has made the most outstanding contribution to an Olympic or Commonwealth Sport.