Whanganui is to host an Olympic celebration with two of our Rio athletes back on home turf.

Saturday, October 1, will be the day to catch up with our sporting stars, with double Olympic medallist Rebecca Scown and fellow rower Chris Harris attending a range of activities.

Scown, 33, followed up her bronze medal at the London Olympics four years ago with a brilliant silver in Rio last month, partnering Genevieve Behrent in the coxless pair. She was also part of New Zealand's women's eight team that finished fourth.

Harris, 30, who also competed in London, made the men's double sculls semifinals in Rio with Robbie Manson.


Both Scown, a Union boat club member and former Collegiate student, and Harris, of the Aramoho-Wanganui club, have World Championship medals.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for our community to meet our great sporting ambassadors who performed so well at Rio," said Mayor Annette Main, announcing the event yesterday.
Inviting families and young people to make the most of the opportunity, she said: "You'll be able to have a chat, get a selfie and even touch a real Olympic medal.

"Rebecca and Chris are great role models and what better way to show them how proud they made us than to turn out in force and enjoy this day with them."

In the lead-up to the Rio Olympics, Whanganui was named as New Zealand's top breeding ground for Olympic medallists.

Ms Main said she hoped that legacy would inspire a new generation of Olympic athletes from the River City.

Due to other commitments, 2016 Olympians Lucy Oliver (athletics) and Kerri Gowler (rowing) will be unable to attend but Olympic support staff and former Olympians from Whanganui will also be part of the celebrations.

Councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan first mooted the idea of a city celebration after Scown's silver medal performance in August, describing the Hawera-born rower's achievement as "immense".

The athletes will start with a walkabout at the River Traders Market and Majestic Square and special appearances at Cooks Gardens during the Heartland Rugby match between Steelform Wanganui and Thames Valley.

Meet our sporting stars - Saturday, October 1

11.30am - 12 noon:
Walkabout at the River Traders Market

12 noon:
Join the Walking Bus from the Market up to Majestic Square

12.15pm - 1.00pm:
Activities at Majestic Square and your chance to meet the Olympians

Official recognition of the Olympians before the Steelform Wanganui vs Thames Valley kick-off

(Normal gate fees will apply for entry to Cooks Gardens during the rugby match)