Tokyo Olympics: Lisa Carrington celebrated by New Zealand Government

Lisa Carrington becoming New Zealand's greatest Olympian after winning her fifth gold medal on Thursday is being celebrated by the Government.

The canoe sprinter was the champion in the K1 500m race on Thursday afternoon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, following up on her top performances in the K2 500m and K1 200m events.

With five gold medals - one was won at the 2012 London Olympics and the other at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games - Carrington overtakes fellow canoeist Ian Ferguson as the most successful Kiwi Olympian. She also has an additional bronze medal from Rio, is the first Kiwi woman to win three medals at a single Olympics, and is only one of two New Zealanders - the other being rower Hamish Bond - to win gold at three consecutive Games. 

Carrington's achievement is being celebrated throughout the country - including at the Beehive.

"What an absolute legend you are @liscarrington!! l I think we all probably count ourselves lucky to have watched you on this amazing journey - and to claim you as a kiwi!" Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Instagram.

"Lisa is a phenomenal athlete... To win the K1 200m three Olympics in a row, and to add both the K2 500 gold with Caitlyn Regal earlier this week and the K1 500 gold today is an exceptional effort," Sports and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement after Carrington's race.

"She is tough, resilient and remarkable, and deservedly the most decorated New Zealand Olympian."

Robertson said Carrington "is rightly celebrated for her discipline and work ethic, as well as her integrity and showing her appreciation for the people who have helped her along the way".

"New Zealand is so very proud of her achievements."

With 17 medals so far, the minister said the New Zealand Olympic Team "are on the road to a possible record medal haul".

"This is our biggest ever Olympic team, and every single one of them has done us proud. Given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the lead-up to these Games has been incredibly challenging for all the athletes involved.

"People talk a lot about the importance of resilience in high-performance sport, and this team have all shown they have that in spades."

 "This has been a truly remarkable Olympics for New Zealand. To deliver a performance of this scale takes a great team of people and I would like to congratulate our athletes who have inspired the nation by what they have achieved. 

"We may not have the same resources as many of our international competitors, but these athletes have well and truly made their mark on the world."