High Performance New Zealand leading Kiwi athletes to success

Lisa Carrington (Photosport)
Lisa Carrington (Photosport)

It's the one stop shop for our high performance athletes -- the Millenium Institute is where experts collaborate to get the best from the best.

"It's a place where you can be social, get your work done and be motivated by people around you because you're all here for the same reasons," two-time world champion canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington said.

The facility exists to help New Zealand's champions of sport excel -- whether they're Olympic paddlers like Carrington, rising pole vaulters like Eliza McCartney, or shot put queens like Valerie Adams.

"When Val's doing her training and I'm doing mine, it's nice to have that support," Carrington said.

"She's super vocal so its real fun to have her in the gym."

And all that helps keep your chin up and stay in the swing of things -- day in, day out.

"One of the sailors said we'll have a chin-up competition next week -- he hasn't got back to me yet," Carrington laughed.

The Millennium Institute is more than a training facility -- it's a holistic centre that keeps the athlete in peak physical and mental condition.

"The team here -- the physios and the doctors -- know what you're going through," McCartney said.

"It's not like just seeing your normal GP -- they know what's going on."

And the athletes know what's going in, too -- each athlete is given a nutrition programme specific to their sport and their needs.

"We sit down and we talk about what is in food, what is good for training and then the knowledge I learn from [my nutritionist] I apply to my particular tastes," Carrington said.

Finally, there's the secret that is Goldmine -- the programme for which neuroscientist Kerry Spackman and his team of tech specialists design equipment to measure and analyse each athlete's movement to maximise performance.

"Buried inside there is a whole lot of equipment -- a bit like Formula One measuring what happens," Spackman said.

All in all, 80 staff communicate and coordinate their programmes with 40 front-liners Rio-bound in a bid to provide a seamless transition from training to competition.

"I can't tell you how helpful it is to have everybody communicating on the same page -- [it] makes all the world of difference," XXX said.

And when you're at the top of your game, that can be the difference between success and failure.