The second in a series by Natalie Akoorie features Kiwi sporting heroes who were household names, some internationally, at the height of their success
Once described as a "killer" in the water, Danyon Loader is best known for his two gold medals, in the 200m and 400m freestyle at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
In 1992 at just 16 Loader became an Olympic champion and went on to earn 20 medals throughout his impressive swimming career, including world and Pan Pacific championships as well as Commonwealth Games.
By his retirement in the late 90s he had set a record 58 New Zealand national records and four world records. Some of his many honours include New Zealand Sportsman of the Year twice, the Halberg Award, an ONZM medal in 1996, NZ Sportsperson of the decade for the 1990s, and he was the first New Zealander inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2003.
After the 1996 Olympics, Loader enrolled at Berkeley University, San Francisco, where he studied and swam for two semesters. Back home, he trained as a territorial soldier, had a spell bartending and worked as a commercial scuba diver. Despite shunning the limelight, he appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2006 and in an online video campaign supporting gay marriage in 2012.
He was employed by the New Zealand Olympic Committee and as sports ambassador for Sparc and managed the New Zealand team to the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India. At 39, Loader is now a coach at the National High Performance Centre in swimming.
Belinda Colling was a New Zealand representative in netball and women's basketball. As a netballer, she played in the Silver Ferns 91 times between 1996 and 2006, going to three Commonwealth Games and two Netball World Championships. The specialist goal attack captained the team from 1997 to 1999 and a year later she represented New Zealand in basketball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the team placed 11th.
Colling was part of the Silver Ferns 2003 world championships winning team and helped the team to a famous victory over arch rivals Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. In National Bank Cup netball, she played for the Otago Rebels and Canterbury Flames before retiring in 2005 to move to Scotland with husband Highlander Charlie Hore, to further his rugby career.
She returned to New Zealand and the National Bank Cup in 2006 and played for the seven time-winning Southern Sting but retired a second time that year before the birth of her second child.
Colling is now a mother of four and the family live on a central Otago farm. In 2009 Colling was called up by then Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken to provide tips to to players at the shooting end of the court.
Former All Black winger Terry Wright played 30 tests for the team between 1986 and 1991. He was part of the victorious New Zealand squad that won the 1987 Rugby World Cup in Auckland. He also played in the 1991 Rugby World Cup in Britain, Ireland and France, won by Australia. Known for his slim build and pencil-thin moustache, Wright started out playing for Auckland and also did a stint with the NZ Sevens team. He was 23 when he first played for the All Blacks and became one of Auckland's and the All Blacks' most prolific tryscorers.
But those were the days of amateur rugby and Wright, a trained accountant, was also juggling a career with Ernst & Young. In 2001, after retiring from rugby a decade earlier, Wright and his wife Lindsay headed to Sydney to allow her to pursue her banking career.
The couple, who have two children, have lived in Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Hong Kong and Beijing where Mrs Wright was appointed to the board of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund at the end of 2012.
Wright has been the stay-at-home parent since his wife's career took off but in New York he volunteered for two non-profit organisations including as treasurer for KEA (Kiwi Expats Abroad) and ANZA (American New Zealand Association).
Sir Richard Hadlee
Former New Zealand cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee is regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers and all-rounders in cricketing history. Hadlee made his first class debut for Canterbury in 1971 and his test match debut in 1973. He was an inconsistent performer at test level until a breakthrough performance against India in 1976 in which he took 11 wickets and New Zealand won, cementing his place in the side.
In his 86-test career, Hadlee took 431 wickets (at the time the world record) and was the first bowler to pass 400 wickets. He made 3124 test runs including two centuries and 15 fifties.
In 1980 Hadlee was appointed an MBE and knighted in 1990 for services to cricket. He is a former chairman of the New Zealand board of selectors and in December 2002 was chosen by Wisden as the second greatest test bowler of all time.
In 2009 he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Hadlee's career in cricket continued after he finished playing in 1990 through various appointments. He has also authored or co-authored 13 books including Hadlee, Hadlee Hits Out and Rhythm and Swing, and was a TV and radio cricket commentator from 1991 to 2007.
He is also an international speaker, columnist and has been a brand ambassador for several products and services. In early December Hadlee, now 63, was New Zealand Cricket's sole representative at the funeral of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes.
A young Nikki Jenkins became New Zealand's new sporting hero in 1990 when the then 14-year-old won gold in the women's vault at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland. Jenkins was unknown and not expected to place but her star performance made her the youngest-ever New Zealand gold medallist at either the Commonwealth or Olympic Games. And it was a landmark win for New Zealand gymnastics, the first time the country's flag had been raised in such a podium ceremony for gymnastics.
Afterwards Jenkins became something of a celebrity, and was in demand for modelling, public appearances and television commercials. At the same time her success at the Commonwealth Games earned her an invitation to the Moscow News competition, which no other New Zealander had ever been invited to.
A documentary entitled Nikki: A Young Champion chronicled her struggle to prepare for the competition with a lack of resources. She performed well in her speciality vault competition but did not place.
At the 1991 World Championships, Jenkins sought to qualify for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics but when she contracted measles just before the competition she was ordered into quarantine and was unable to compete. It meant she could not qualify for the Olympics and Jenkins left the sport to continue schooling.
She studied physical education at the University of Otago. Now 39, Jenkins is understood to have taught PE at several schools in Auckland as well as teaching dance during the past decade.
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