A late schedule change forced New Zealand into a last-minute flagbearer switch at last night's Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
A late change to the Olympic rowing schedule forced Hamish Bond to hand over his flagbearer duties, now having to prepare for a race this afternoon.
Double Commonwealth Games gold medal winning boxer David Nyika was named to replace Bond by Chef de Mission Rob Waddell, and strode out alongside female flagbearer and rugby star Sarah Hirini, in a small team of socially-distanced New Zealand athletes.
Bond was told last night that the New Zealand men's rowing eight would now be racing this afternoon, after a poor weather forecast saw the organisers clear the schedule on Monday, pushing four New Zealand semifinals to Sunday, and moving the men's and women's eight heats to this afternoon.
Rowers Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast may have to row twice in three hours, with the star women's pair duo also in the eight. However, the women's eight brought a squad of 10, so if it is deemed too taxing, the star duo could rest and return for the next race – with one team from the heat of four qualifying for the final, and the other crews heading to a repechage.
For Bond, however, the change was more costly.
"Unfortunately, this late and unexpected change means I've had to make a very tough decision," said Bond.
"Although being flagbearer is a huge honour, ultimately I came to Tokyo to compete and that means I need to prioritise being in the best possible condition for racing."
For Nyika, the news was yet another twist in his long and complex journey to the Olympic Games.
"This was hugely unexpected but I couldn't be more proud to step up," said Nyika.
"This is a huge honour and there's so many athletes who are deserving of this privilege, it's really special and I'm super proud.
"From missing Rio, to being about to head to Wuhan when the qualifiers were moved and the Games postponed, to lockdown in New Zealand and finally selection, it's been an unbelievable road to the Games. This is a huge way to kick off my Olympic campaign for real."
Catch up on how the opening ceremony unfolded below: