The 100% inaugural New Zealand Winter Games came to a spectacular close at Coronet Peak on Sunday.
“It has been highly rewarding that this inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games has reached all the objectives that we set. Not only did we get the targeted number of competitors but the quality far exceeded expectations and we had a number of Olympic and X Games medallists. Most satisfying is the incredible international media interest and although the weather has been against us, we have still achieved fantastic still and video images for international audiences”, said Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap.
He said the international coverage of the event had been outstanding with expected global TV audiences of 500 million and extensive print and internet coverage.
Canada was awarded the prize for the top performing country with 10 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals. The USA was runner up, followed by Japan.
Over 800 athletes, 40 countries, 400 volunteers and 37 events over 10 days marked the first 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games which was heralded a success by athletes, stakeholders and organisers alike.
After the slalom race on 30th August which was completed in extremely tough conditions, top women’s seed Anja Paerson said the conditions were difficult, changing throughout the competition, but it was a good race, made possible only through the hard work of the Coronet Peak race department and the volunteer course workers. “They have been incredible and all the athletes want to thank them,” she said.
The Games also made history as the first elite snow sports event to have able bodied and athletes with a disability compete together.
The 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games provided the opportunity for both able bodied and athletes with a disability to race alongside each other in the alpine skiing and cross-country skiing disciplines. However, with valuable points available for Olympic and Paralympic qualification, the scoring system was separate under FIS (Federation International de Ski) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) regulations.
The closing ceremony featured aerials and a parade of nations down the mountain. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he was proud to showcase New Zealand to the international athletes and said it was testament to the commitment of the athletes that they were prepared to compete in spite of the challenging weather conditions. The Games were brought to a final close by Ngai Tahu elder, Sir Tipene Regan, followed by a celebratory fireworks display.
And on a different competition, but still in New Zealand:
THE WORLD HELI CHALLENGE…
There is no update at the moment as the weather has been so bad, that the competitors are passing time in a very different manner…
Stormy and snowy conditions in the Makarora and Mt Aspiring National Park ranges meant that competition was temporarily put aside, but these guys are self-confessed adrenaline junkies and rather than hang around doggedly scanning the skies, a handful of the athletes decided to take on the challenge of the raging river through the Kawarua Gorge with Queenstown Rafts. The winter storms that were delaying the skiing and had made conditions challenging for the NZ Winter Games meant that the rivers were flowing at full force – perfect conditions for people seeking a little excitement…