Summer Olympics History: New Zealand's Greatest Olympians

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New Zealand at the Summer Olympics

New Zealand sent its first competitors to the Summer Olympic Games in 1908. The country's athletes have returned home with a total of 102 medals-including 43 golds.

The number of podium finishes has been consistently good since 1984 as the Summer Games have expanded and participation has increased significantly.

New Zealand had its best Olympics in decades in 2012 with 13 medals overall. With its small population, New Zealand regularly ranks near the top of the standings when looking at medals per capita.

The following list includes brief information on New Zealand's most decorated Summer Olympians:

Valerie Adams: The world's best in the women's shot put in recent years, Adams bested the competition for gold at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. At 28 years of age, she is a solid bet to add to her podium finishes in 2016.

Simon Dickie: Dickie tallied three medals in rowing for New Zealand with golds in 1968 and 1972. The former was for his part in a victory in the Coxed Four, while the latter was a title in Eights at the Munich Games.

Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell: The identical twin sisters were rowing standouts last decade and took golds in the Double Sculls at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Ian Ferguson: A star in various canoe events at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, Ferguson enjoys the distinction of being New Zealand's most decorated Olympian. He won five medals, with four of them gold.

Dick Joyce: Teaming with Simon Dickie and others, Joyce won a pair of rowing golds at consecutive Games in '68 and '72.

Danyon Loader: Loader was a three-time Olympic medalist in swimming in the 1990s. At the Atlanta Olympics in '96, he was victorious in the 200 and 400-meter freestyles. He also has a silver in the 200-meter butterfly from the Barcelona Games in '92 to his credit.

Paul MacDonald: Like teammate Ian Ferguson in the 1980s, MacDonald had five podium finishes in canoeing. MacDonald's medal tally consists of three golds, a silver, and a bronze.

Peter Snell: Snell was a star on the track in middle distances for New Zealand in the first half of the 1960s. He earned three golds, with a pair in the 800 meters and one in the 1500 meters.

Mark Todd: A superbly talented performer in equestrian, Todd has accumulated five medals over the course of his long, illustrious career. His most recent podium finish was a bronze in Team Eventing at the London Games at age 56.

Related content: London Olympics Recap: New Zealand Has Its Most Successful Summer Games Since 1988

Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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