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Olympic Wrap

The New Zealand Olympic team can take a bow for their stunning performance at the games.

New Zealand, stand up and take a bow.

The NZ medalists pose with their medals

With little old New Zealand bringing home 13 Olympic medals – equaling our all-time best performance in Seoul in 1988 – we have again proven we can punch well above our weight.

Mahe Drysdale wins gold

It’s been an Olympics Games to remember. From Mahe Drysdale finally realising his phenomenal talent with a gold, after suffering through a crippling illness to take bronze in Beijing, to Valerie Adams’ shock promotion to gold after her Belarusian opponent failed a drug test, it’s been a games charged with emotion.

Though disappointed, Valerie Adams put on a brave face

And for Valerie, it was a rollercoaster ride that saw her go through every emotion imaginable before finally emerging the rightful winner of the Olympic shot-put title.

The pictures of her standing on the dais, clutching her silver medal said it all – a bitterly disappointed Val putting on a brave face as she struggled to comprehend what had just happened.

Fast forward a couple of days, and the golden girl is glowing again after Nadzeya Ostapchuck was stripped of her Olympic title following her positive drug test.

“A massive thanks to the people of New Zealand for supporting me back on the 6th of August when I won the silver and today when I won the gold medal,” Valerie told One News from Switzerland, where’s she’s already training for another competition on Thursday.

“I’m very humbled by the support and I hope you can support me going forward in my career as I try to do my best for our nation.”

Valerie’s gold took the nation’s final medal haul to six gold, two silver and five bronze – an amazing achievement that saw New Zealand place fourth on the alternative per-capita medal table.

Lisa Carrington gives the thumbs up after winning gold

Outstanding performances by New Zealand’s female competitors contributed hugely, with Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie scooping gold in sailing and Lisa Carrington cruising to win gold in canoeing, Sarah Walker claiming silver in BMX, Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown with a bronze in rowing, and Caroline Powell and Jonelle Richards being part of the bronze-winning equestrian team.

It’s been a landmark games for women across the world – for the first time, every country fielded a female athlete.

Kate Middleton was an enthusiastic supporter at the 2012 Olympic Games

And of course, the added glamour of the royals in attendance gave the games a regal shine, with the Duchess of Cambridge winning the award for the most enthusiastic royal spectator, as well as the luckiest. Kate proved to have the Midas touch as she watched five athletes from Great Britain win gold medals.

But the truly tear-inducing, lump-in-your-throat and shivers-down-the-spine moments came from the Kiwis, especially during Mahe’s nail-biting race that saw him finally bring home a gold.

The Weekly spoke to Mahe before he left for London, and despite injury niggles and a cycling accident in Germany, he was confident he could win the gold that eluded him in 2008.

“All [of the injuries] have just made me more determined,” he said.

“It’s made me realise how much I want it. It hasn’t been the easiest with the injuries, but all those things have made me stronger.”

Even though it’s all over for another Olympics, leaving us all scratching our heads wondering what we watched on TV before the games, at least we’ll have Valerie’s medal ceremony to look forward to, giving us another New Zealand first – a gold medal ceremony on New Zealand soil. O for owesome.

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