New funding for our Olympic sports is released: Who were the big winners - and losers?

Swimming and cycling have taken massive blows while sailing, women's rugby sevens, canoe racing and athletics have been recognised for impressive results at the Rio Olympic Games this year with High Performance Sport New Zealand releasing it's allocated funding this morning.

The pole vault star was in hot demand as New Zealand’s medal winners got together for a catch-up ahead of the closing ceremony. Source: 1 NEWS


Impressive results including bronze medals to Tom Walsh and Eliza McCartney has seen Athletics NZ funding increased from $2.225 million last year to $2.75 million in 2018. 

Nick Willis' bronze and Valerie Adams' silver meant athletics' medal haul was tied for first equal amongst Kiwi sports in Rio, with four.

The programme has also been promoted to Tier 1 status by High Performance NZ after previously being recognised as a Tier 2 programme.

Athletics NZ chief executive Linda Hamersley says the result is satisfying.

"We were confident we achieved the results for our programme to receive the increased funding that is required to sustain our performances from Rio and grow towards an outstanding result in Tokyo," Ms Hamersley said.

Gold medal-winning sailor and opening ceremony flag bearer Blair Tuke says he can't wait to share his win with the country. Source: 1 NEWS


Sailing continues to go from strength to strength and has extra funding to back it as the Tier 1 programme received a $325,000 boost to its funding to sit at $3.8 million in 2018.

With one gold, two silvers and a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, sailing tied with athletics for most medals in one sport by Kiwi athletes.

The star of the NZ women's sevens team says she was honoured by the gesture after returning to NZ with a silver medal. Source: 1 NEWS

Rugby Sevens

The women's silver medal finish has seen their funding receive a significant boost while the Mens All Blacks Sevens' lacklustre result has meant a cut  - with the women set to get more funding than the men by 2018.

NZR general manager Neil Sorensen said the funding would strengthen their aims of two gold medals in Tokyo.

"We are grateful for the confidence shown by High Performance Sport New Zealand in the Black Ferns Sevens. Their silver in Rio has built the profile of the women's game and contributed to growth in women's rugby generally," Mr Sorensen said.

"We accept the decision to reduce funding for the All Blacks Sevens. The team is rebuilding, with a new coach appointed to start next year and new players coming through.

"We are in the early stages of building towards Tokyo and are looking forward to delivering better results on the field."

The women's team will receive an additional $100,000 in 2017 and an additional $200,000 in each of 2018, 2019 and 2020 taking their support to $1.2 million per year.

The All Blacks Sevens funding has been reduced from $1.2 million per year to $900,000 in each of 2017 and 2018.

The two-time gold medal winner spoke about the struggle of bringing her chosen event into the mainstream. Source: 1 NEWS

Canoe Racing

Another big winner in this year's funding round is Canoe racing, which has been promoted from a Tier 3 to Tier 2 sport with a funding boost of $475,000 to see their 2018 budget sit at $1.75 million.

"This is a massive boost for the sport that supports all the work put in by the athletes, staff and volunteers over the last year," Canoe Racing NZ chief executive Mark Weatherall said.

"It's put us in a very strong position heading into next year and I'm extremely proud of the faith we've been shown."

Lisa Carrington continued to shine on the water with a historic gold and bronze medal haul in the K1 200m and K1 500m respectively, while the K4 women's team also finished an impressive fifth. 

The Olympic trio have been cycling together for seven years, and say they're already gunning for Tokyo 2020. Source: 1 NEWS


But as it is in sport, with winners comes losers and after poor showings in Rio, cycling has taken cuts to their budget from the funding body.

Cycling, the second highest funded programme last year on $4.7 million will receive $500,000 less until 2018 after Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster were the only team to medal with a silver finish in the men's team sprint.

Cycling NZ CEO Andrew Matheson says the New Zealand cycling team shone in the past four years at the world championships with 14 medals including four world champions but failed to produce when it counted.

"We understand the realities of operation in the high performance sport space, and that there can be consequences for not achieving the agreed targets with High Performance Sport New Zealand," Mr Matheson said.

"We have had a thorough and very honest debrief process and believe we have captured the areas where we have done well plus critically identified some shortcomings in our Rio campaign."

After recent reports from WADA about Russia’s doping scandal, the Kiwi admits she has suspicions about others. Source: 1 NEWS


Swimming also sufferred from poor results, with a $400,000 reducing its funding to $900,000.

Not one swimmer  qualified for a final in Rio with Lauren Boyle's 9th fastest time in the 800m freestyle the best finish the swimming team came away with.

Former UFC champion Jon Jones to return to the octagon after 15-month doping suspension

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones should be eligible to fight by late October after completing a 15-month suspension for a doping violation.

The US Anti-Doping Agency today announced the length of Jones' ban for his second violation of the UFC's anti-doping policy.

The decision means the 31-year-old Jones could even fight at UFC 230 in New York on November 3, if the UFC decides to book his comeback bout on that card.

Jones is widely considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world, but he has repeatedly sabotaged his own career.

He reclaimed the light heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier last year, but the victory was taken away when he tested positive for a steroid metabolite.

Jones also failed an out-of-competition test in 2016.

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  (L-R) Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Center on July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California. Source: Getty



Watch: Sonny Bill joins daughters in comical Rocky Balboa inspired training video for upcoming bout

Sonny Bill Williams has called in the help of his daughters, Aisha and Imman, to promote his return to the boxing ring in December, with the star posting a hilarious Rocky Balboa inspired training video on social media today.

The cross-code star will fight Australian millionaire Stu Laundy on December 1, in a charity event to fundraise money for the homeless in New Zealand and Australia.

The 33-year-old All Black posted on his Instagram account today a video of him squatting with one daughter on his arm and another on his shoulders.

He also performs sit-ups while feeding his kids in the video.

"I'm back in the ring Dec 1st - Fighting for those who happen to be a bit down on their luck and are homeless in Aotearoa and Australia. It's an honour to be part of this special event ❤️," posted Williams.

He's in line to make his Test rugby return against the Pumas in Argentina next Sunday, after three months out following a shoulder injury against France.

The cross-code star is set to step back into the ring in December in a charity event for the homeless. Source: Instagram/ sonnybillwilliams


North and South Korea confirm joint bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement today that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

At a major summit, the two leaders gave no details of which cities might host certain events at the games, or how advanced the plans were.

The International Olympic Committee traditionally does not announce host cities until seven years ahead of the games. That would give the Koreas until 2025 to put together a joint bid.

Germany has already announced plans for a multi-city bid for 2032, as has Brisbane, Australia. The India Olympic Committee has also indicated its interest in hosting the 2032 Games.

A successful bid by the Koreas would mark the second time South Korea hosted or co-hosted the Summer Games, the first being 1988 in Seoul. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

Asia also features in the next two Olympics — the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, which also hosted the summer version in 2008.

The joint statement today also said the Koreas would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, also without elaborating.

South Korean President Moon Jae In (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a pine tree planting ceremony in the border village of Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool) (Kyodo)
(Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In took part in an historic meeting in April. Source: Getty


Eden Park's new Our Wāhine mural showcases iconic female athletes to celebrate women’s suffrage anniversary

Auckland sports stadium Eden Park has unveiled a new mural dedicated to iconic New Zealand sportswomen as part of celebrations of the 125th anniversary since Kiwi women gained the right to vote.

The mural, which spans multiple areas of the stadium, includes Yvette Williams (track and field), Suzie Bates (cricket), Farah Palmer, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (rugby), Ruia Morrison (tennis), Dame Valerie Adams (shot put) and Lisa Carrington (kayaking).

Eden Park commissioned Kiwi artist Kate Hursthouse for the artwork.

Hursthouse says 'Our Wāhine' was a special piece for her.

"It's great to have such an iconic venue in my local neighbourhood celebrate New Zealand sportswomen, acknowledge Suffrage 125 and additionally make these seven women a permanent feature of the stadium," she said.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said inspiration for the mural came from last month's Black Ferns Test match against the Wallaroos.

"My great grandmother signed the scroll to get women the vote," he said.

"It's important to celebrate the women who are pushing limits and breaking boundaries in both the professional and sporting worlds. Most of those featured have long affiliations with our stadium."

Dame Valerie Adams and Yvette Williams feature among the seven chosen for the piece. Source: 1 NEWS