Kiwi athletes are once again doing well in Rio, this time in the Paralympics. New Zealand has participated in each Summer Paralympics since 1968, winning a total of 169 medals over the years prior to 2016. The most successful Paralympian as of today, is the late Eve M. Rimmer, who competed in athletics in each Games from 1968 - 1980, winning 14 medals. Swimmer Sophie Pascoe today won her 13th medal, a tally amassed over 3 Paralymipc games, equaling nearly a quarter of the New Zealand Paralympic swimming medals ever.. Pascoe has 2 more races this week in which to tie or beat the record for most successful NZ Paralympian. If not in Rio, Pascoe's young age of 23 makes it likely we will see her go for more medals in 4 years time in Tokyo.
New Zealand is currently at the top of the medal per capita chart. However, we are third in gold medals per capita, behind Fiji and Jamaica. At the 2012 London Paralympics, Kiwis came in 1st on the medals per capita ratings and 4th on the gold medals per capita ratings, behind Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad/Tobago. New Zealand is currently 11th overall on the medal chart in Rio.
The 31 New Zealand athletes span in ages from 15, swimmer Tupou Neiufi, to 58, sailor Chris Sharp. However, in London, the oldest Kiwi Paralympian was 61 and the youngest 13. Ten of the athletes are from the South Island, with the majority of the athletics team residing in Dunedin.
Most of the Kiwi athletes are students or full-time athletes, though 10 have additional occupations outside the home.
Kate Horan, a para-cyclist and mother of three, is competing in her third Paralympics, but her first as a cyclist. She competed in athletics as a sprinter in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
Rio has a total 4,350 athletes competing in 22 sports with 526 medal events. Triathlon and canoeing are making their first appearance at the Paralympics this year.