The New Zealand Olympic Committee celebrates its centenary this evening with a nod to the future of the Olympic Games.
An exhibition Olympic Rugby Sevens match will kick off a black tie gala dinner that includes a guest list of Rugby and Olympic elite. IOC president Jacques Rogge, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset and Sir Clive Woodward of the British Olympic Association will join New Zealand Olympians Barbara Kendall, Danyon Loader and Alison Shanks for the celebration.
Rugby Sevens will feature on the Olympic programme for the first time at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The centenary dinner marks the inauguration of the New Zealand Olympic Committee on 18th October 1911. The organisation was first known as the Olympic Council of New Zealand and was established by the New Zealand Amateur Athletics Association and Festival Empire Sports Committee.
IOC President Jacques Rogge, who is in New Zealand for the centenary and the finals of the Rugby World Cup, says New Zealand is a valuable member of the Olympic community.
“For a small country, New Zealand’s record is impressive,” he said. “A New Zealander was one of just thirteen to sign the founding documents of the modern Olympic Movement. Today Barry Maister and Barbara Kendall are valuable IOC members and active ambassadors of the Olympic values in their country and at Olympic events.”
Pioneering sports administrator Leonard Cuff was a signatory to the founding of the IOC in 1894. Gold medal winning Olympian Barry Maister became the eleventh New Zealander to be elected to the organisation in 2010, continuing an almost unbroken tenure of IOC membership for New Zealand. There have been 1123 New Zealand Olympians winning a total of 90 medals.
New Zealand Olympic Committee President Mike Stanley says New Zealand’s Olympic success defines who we are as a nation and it is significant that New Zealand was a foundation member of the Olympic Movement.
“Sport features strongly in New Zealand society today and millions of Kiwis will be inspired by the feats of strength, speed and determination of spirit we’ll see at next year’s Olympic Games in London. The Olympic Movement is one of the most compelling and powerful in the world and we are proud to be part of it.”
Stanley also added that the Olympic Movement continues to adapt and change. “From 2014 the exciting new sports of Freeski Slopestyle and Half Pipe will open doors to adrenaline-hungry Kiwi winter athletes and from 2016 we’ll see our men’s and women’s Rugby Sevens teams compete for Olympic glory. We have a proud Olympic history and our future is certainly bright.”
ABOUT NEW ZEALAND OLYMPIC COMMITTEE HISTORY
1892 Leonard Cuff meets Pierre de Coubertin in France. They discuss the value of sport in society and the establishment of the Modern Olympic Games.
1894 – New Zealand is one of thirteen countries that sign the foundation documents forming the modern Olympic Movement.
1894 – Leonard Cuff becomes the first IOC Member to New Zealand.
1896 – First modern Olympic Games is held in Athens, Greece.
1908 – First New Zealanders compete at the London Olympic Games as part of the Australasian Team.
1908 ¬ Harry Kerr wins the first medal for New Zealand, a bronze medal for the 3500 metre walk.
1911 – New Zealand Amateur Athletic Association (NZAAA) creates Festival of Empire Sport Committee (FESC) which becomes the Olympic Council of New Zealand on 18th October 2011.
1912 – Representing Australasia, Malcolm Champion becomes the first New Zealander to win an Olympic gold medal. Champion was a member of the 4 x 200 metre relay swimming team.
1919 – International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially recognises the OCNZ as an independent body, no longer part of Australasia.
1920 First New Zealand Olympic Team travels to Antwerp, Belgium. The four athletes included Violet Walrond, the first New Zealand woman to compete at an Olympic Games, and Darcy Hadfield who won the first medal, a bronze in rowing.
1924 Arthur Porritt wins bronze in the 100 metres in Paris in the famous ‘Chariots of Fire’ race.
Porritt went on to captain and manage the 1924 & 1928 NZ Olympic teams, he became Chef de Mission in 1936, Patron of NZOBCGA, IOC Member, was instrumental in establishing IOC Medical Commission and became the first New Zealand IOC Olympic Order Holder.
1928 – Brigadier Bernard Freyberg becomes the fifth IOC member to New Zealand.
1928 Ted Morgan, a boxer, wins New Zealand’s first official gold medal, at the Amsterdam Olympic Games. Champion had won gold in 1912 but was representing “Australasia”.
1928 – The formation of New Zealand British Empire Games Committee (NZBEGC).
1929 – OCNZ and NZBEGC combine to become New Zealand Olympic and British Empire Games Association (NZOBEGA).
1930 – First British Empire Games held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
1934 – Lord Arthur Porritt becomes the seventh IOC Member to New Zealand.
1936 Jack Lovelock wins a Gold medal at the Berlin Olympic Games, and becomes an important advisor to the NZOBEGA regarding international sporting matters.
1946 – Five Olympians lost in service during the two World Wars.
1948 – London Olympic Games, the last New Zealand team to travel to the Olympic Games by ship, a voyage that in the past had lasted from 6 to 8 weeks.
1950 – Auckland hosts the fifth British Empire Games, the first Games held following World War Two.
1952 – First New Zealand Winter Olympics Team travel to compete in Oslo (“we were given silver fern badges and told to sew them onto our black jerseys….”)
1952 – Yvette Williams becomes New Zealand’s first woman Gold medallist winning the Long Jump at the Helsinki Olympic Games.
1960 – The ‘Golden Hour’ in Rome when Peter Snell (800 metres) and Murray Halberg (5000 metres) both win gold within the same hour, both coached by Arthur Lydiard.
1964 – Peter Snell becomes the first New Zealander to win two Gold medals at a single Games, and also repeats his 800 metre victory in Rome.
1968 – NZOBEGA becomes New Zealand Olympic and British Commonwealth Games Association (NZOBCGA).
1969 – Sir Lance Cross becomes the eighth IOC Member to New Zealand.
1974 – Christchurch hosts the tenth Commonwealth Games.
1974 – NZOBCGA becomes New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (NZOCGA).
1976 – John Walker, in Montreal, becomes the third NZ athlete to win the men’s Olympic 1500 metres. African nations boycott the Olympic Games in response to New Zealand’s Springbok tour.
1970’s Debates rage in NZ about amateur vs. professionalism. The rise of professionalism wins and the Olympic Games are no longer the preserve of the amateur athlete.
1980 – New Zealand boycott Moscow Olympic Games and of the 99 athletes selected, four competed, 95 did not compete, and 34 were never selected to compete at another Olympic Games.
1984 – Ian Ferguson wins three Gold medals in Canoeing at the Los Angeles Games.
The Los Angeles Olympic Games mark a new era in sport – commercialism and sport meet in sponsorship of the Olympic Games and sale of broadcast rights.
1988 – First permanent NZOCGA staff member is employed.
1990 – Auckland hosts the fourteenth Commonwealth Games.
1994 – Annelise Coberger wins a Silver Medal at the Winter Olympics, the first by a New Zealander and the first by a country in the southern hemisphere.
1996 – Danyon Loader wins two Gold medals in individual swimming events at Atlanta.
1996 – NZOCGA becomes the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC).
2005 – Barbara Kendall becomes the tenth IOC Member to New Zealand and the first New Zealand woman to hold the position.
2008 – New Zealand celebrates its 1000th Olympian at Beijing (Adrian Blincoe) and all 1111 Olympians are presented with special numbered pins in celebrations that take place the following year.
2008 – New Zealand’s Olympic medal tally rises to 86 and it is New Zealand’s female athletes that dominate the gold medals. Caroline and Georgina Evers Swindell retain their Olympic crown and Valerie Adams dominates women’s shot put.
2009 – Rugby Sevens is ratified as an Olympic Sport at the IOC Session in Copenhagen. Another medal opportunity for New Zealand is created.
2010 – Barry Maister becomes the eleventh IOC Member to New Zealand. Kereyn Smith is named the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s first female Secretary General.
2011 – Three years after her term had ended, Barbara Kendall is reappointed to the IOC.