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Athletics is New Zealand's most medalled Olympic sport with 21 medals. Results in Beijing and London continue to demonstrate our ability to win Olympic medals. We are arguably the most important Olympic sport to New Zealanders, displaying a heritage and legacy that is unmatched by any other Olympic sport.
Despite being the most widely contested Olympic Sport in terms of competitive countries, the results of our athletes continue to make headlines throughout the world. While we have enjoyed our successes, we are firmly focused on creating a High Performance Programme that systematically produces success at the highest levels. In recent years, we have moved the sport from a "qualification" mentality to an "achievement" mentality. Since 2006 we have vigorously pursued the objective of sending athletes to major events to succeed, not simply to take part.
Athletics is unique. While we are grouped in a collective of track events, field events and non-stadia events, we are effectively many sports wrapped in one. The skills and attributes required of our athletes vary widely. This flows through to the specialist nature of our coaches. One of our coaches may be able to coach several athletes in related disciplines. However, they will not be able to effectively coach across a number of disciplines all in the same venue such as occurs in a sport like swimming. We have unique athlete and coach development needs.
We realise that creating a world-class talent base across all of 47 potential Olympic medal events would be highly unrealistic. We know where our strengths lie. Our recent success and Olympic legacy tell us this. Our targeted event groups will be throws and distance. Our secondary event groups will be men's 4x400m relay, decathlon and heptathlon. However, we also need to ensure that we are in a position to support "one-off" break through athletes that "bob-up" outside these priority areas. Ultimately though, with the appropriate support, we can succeed at the highest levels in our prioritised event groups.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games Performance Targets
6+ Top 8 performances (including the 2+ medallists)
10+ Top 16 performances (including the 6+ Top 8)
2020 Olympic Games Performance Targets
8+ Top 8 performances (including the 3+ medallists)
12+ Top 16 performances (including the 8+ Top 8)