Canterbury Olympians

This page looks at Olympians with a local Canterbury connection.

2012 London Olympics

Medal winners

Double scull rowers Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan of Christchurch won the gold medals.


Paralympian Graham Condon

Graham Condon won a total of 36 medals, including seven golds in his Paralympic career.

His life ended tragically in 2007 when he was struck by a car while riding his hand-propelled bicycle.

The Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre in Papanui was named in his honour.


Australasian tennis team in the international competitions [1905] — Anthony Wilding is second from right, CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0011
Anthony Wilding was one of Christchurch’s most famous tennis players, but the Wimbledon champion also represented his country at the Olympics. Anthony Wilding: A Sporting life puts his achievements alongside those of Jack Lovelock.

See his profile on the NZ Olympic Committee website.


Jack Lovelock grew up in South Canterbury and was a doctor, athlete, military man and journalist. Fellow Timaru Boys’ High student Graeme Woodfield has written one of the most comprehensive biographies of the man who won gold in the mile race at Berlin in 1936.

Four years earlier Cyril Stiles, known as Bob, and Fred ‘Rangi’ Thompson won silver in Los Angeles in 1932. This was New Zealand's first Olympic rowing medal. Thompson, according to the his profile on the NZ Olympic Committee site, worked at Wilson Tanneries in Woolston, lost his arm in an industrial accident, and later became a greengrocer in High Street. Both men continued their association with the Avon Club staying active in the sport as coaches, and the boat they won the silver medal in, Tui, remains in the clubs rooms.


Peter Mander and Jack Cropp both lived in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch and were New Zealand’s first yachting representatives. They won gold at Melbourne in 1956 after a French protest led to the disqualification of the Australian team.


Valerie Sloper (Young) represented New Zealand at Tokyo in 1964 and also had tremendous Commonwealth Games success. She was born in Ashburton.

Boxer Brian Maunsell also went to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Ian Ballinger won 1968 Olympic bronze in Mexico in smallbore shooting. He was 43, and the teams oldest member. The country’s most famous shooter later opened a firearms store in Christchurch.


Rowers Athol Earl and John Hunter were gold medal winners in Munich in 1972, and Earl won bronze in Montreal in 1976. Hunter attended the 1968 Olympics and also was later an official for the New Zealand rowing team.

Lindsay Wilson of Methven also shared Olympic glory, as did Gary Robertson. Robertson had a stint in Christchurch as a rubbish collector and as Rangi Ruru rowing coach. He was born in Oamaru. Robertson was instrumental in setting up the rowing club at the Rangi Ruru and has seen Rangi Ruru become the powerhouse of national schoolgirls’ rowing.

In 1976, hockey players Barry Maister and Selwyn Maister won gold at Montreal along with Paul AckerleyArthur BorrenJohn Christensen, and Tony Ineson. All of these men played for the University club. Alan Chesney played for Harewood.

Annelise Coberger was the first person from the Southern Hemisphere to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. She took silver in the slalom at Albertville in France in 1992. She also won several World Cup podium places.

1980 -1990

Neroli Fairhall was an Olympian archer in Los Angeles in 1984 and a Paralympian who competed in several games. She won the gold in the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Chris Timms won a yachting gold in 1984 and silver in 1988 with Nelson’s Rex Sellers.

2000 - 2012

Donna Wilkins (formerly Loffhagen) is best-known as a Silver Fern netballer, but she has represented New Zealand at Olympic level in basketball.

Cyclist Hayden Roulston won the silver medal in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit and a bronze medal in the men’s 4000m team pursuit.

More profiles

Profiles from the New Zealand Olympic Committee website:

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