Weightlifter Richie Patterson. Credit: Photosport.

Patterson grew up on a dairy farm on the Manukau Peninsula and started weightlifting at the age of 15, originally taking it up as a way to improve his rugby game.

It wasn’t until he saw New Zealand weightlifter Nigel Avery competing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics that he decided he wanted to be an Olympian.

Since then Patterson has been New Zealand Senior Champion 14 times and the Oceania Senior Champion four times, as well as representing New Zealand at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

He attended his first Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, and his first Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 where he placed 21st.

Patterson won his first Commonwealth Games medal in 2010 in Delhi, taking silver in the men’s 85kg event.

2012 saw him represent New Zealand at the London Olympics, placing 14th. But his best result came two years later at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where he won gold and was chosen to be the flag bearer for New Zealand at the closing ceremony.

It was also a big year for Patterson personally, as he married his partner Pip, who also competed at the Commonwealth Games the same year in weightlifting. The pair married in Glasgow just days after his big win.

Being selected for the Rio 2016 Olympics meant Patterson joined Don Oliver as the only Kiwi weightlifters to be selected for three Olympic Games.

In 2018, Patterson will become the first weightlifter to represent New Zealand at four Commonwealth Games and will mark 20 years of competing in the sport.

His wife Pip will also be competing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The couple, who have a two-year-old son called Cooper, run a weightlifting and CrossFit gym in Auckland.