Olympic wrong haunts NZ's only gold-winning hockey team

The gold medal
The gold medal

In 1976 the New Zealand men's hockey team did something no Kiwi had done before -- they won gold at the Olympics.

But thanks to an archaic rule, two of them had to watch from the sidelines as the rest of the team received medals.

40 years on, it's still a sore topic for Neil McLeod and Les Wilson. And they still don't have those medals.

The family of Mr Wilson say he still doesn't talk about it.

His wife, Christine Wilson, says she was "over the moon that all of his hard work had paid off."

But when he got home, they "didn't really talk about the medal part."

Daughter Kristy Wilson says she didn't even know her father went to the Olympics, until a teacher asked her to bring his medal to school.

Arthur Parkin was part of the winning team. He says the team was gutted for their mates, and the pair who missed out were gutted too.

He says being on the dais "is a special moment, of course. Something you dream and something they were robbed of."

There were enough medals for the whole team, but they weren't allowed to have them.

It was the first time a New Zealand hockey team had made it this far in the Olympics. Our officials didn't know the rules, and by the time they found out, it was too late.

The rules at the time stated only those who played in the tournament would receive a medal. Other teams found ways around this rule -- during their final, the Australian women's team swapped out players with 90 seconds to go, just so they could get medals.

These days, every member of a winning team gets a medal. The rule that caught our team out was scrapped in 2004.

Mr Wilson and Mr McLeod didn't want to appear on camera.

It might be especially difficult at the moment because of another disappointment earlier this year.

At a book launch about their victory, the men thought they were finally getting their medals.

Instead, they got commemorative coins. It broke their hearts all over again.

Barry Maister, who represents New Zealand on the International Olympic Committee, has agreed to help Story write to the committee to help right this Olympic wrong.

As team mate Mr Parkin says, they deserve those medals because "it's fair and it's just and they've been robbed of that. They've had 40 years of disappointment."

 Watch the video for the full Story report.