New Zealanders do not understand how well the country did
at the London Olympics, with a haul of six gold medals "fairly
unique" for a small nation, Sport New Zealand chief executive
Peter Miskimmin says.
Miskimmin was speaking at the Otago School of Physical
Education's symposium, The Future of Sport in Small Nations,
which began on Wednesday and ends today.
The public underestimated how well New Zealand had done at
the Olympics, he told those at the symposium.
"I don't think they understand that getting six gold medals
is a fairly unique thing for a small nation."
There was a danger this would lead to unfair expectations at
the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he said.
New Zealand's overall achievement at the Games - 13 medals in
six sports - was especially significant.
All the countries that out-performed New Zealand on a
per-capita basis won their medals in only one discipline,
which was sprinting, he said.
Miskimmin also spoke about the challenges of staying
competitive as a small nation, adding there were some
advantages to being small.
This included having a more streamlined and efficient
organisation structure than many larger countries, where
multiple organisations carried out the same roles.
"We are small and small helps, because we can be nimble," he
However, it would continue to be tough to compete, as more
countries were competing for the same number of medals.
This increase in competitiveness was shown by the increase in
the number of countries who were winning medals at the
Given New Zealand's talent pool was only so big, and there
were only so many resources, a point would eventually be
reached where the country could do no better on the world
stage, Miskimmin said.