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WATCH: Kereyn Smith MNZM, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee

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Leadership from Lockdown

WEEK ONE: We kicked off our new series with Kereyn Smith MNZM, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee

13.00 – 13.45 NZT, Thursday 9 April 2020

WATCH NOW: (please note about a 30sec delay until we speak, waiting for the audience to dial-in)

After many weeks of speculation and uncertainty, on 25 March, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were officially postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19. The Olympic Games will now take place from 23 July 2021 – 8 August 2021, with the Paralympics shortly after.

It is the first time the Olympics has been moved since World War II. The NZOC had been vocal around the need for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Local Organising Committee to consider a postponement, releasing a survey of New Zealand’s top athletes in partnership with Paralympics New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand only the day before the final announcement, demonstrating overwhelming support.

At the time, Kereyn Smith told Newshub: “It is an enormous challenge to reschedule the Olympic Games. The task is monumental, but it’s great to see details coming to life, and we are already looking forward to being in Tokyo in 2021.” We look forward to listening to Kereyn speak about the journey so far and what she now sees on the horizon as our athletes prepare for 2021.

Kereyn is amongst one of New Zealand’s most recognisable sports administrators, having led the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games campaigns since 2011. Kereyn was involved in the establishment of the IWG in 1994 and, since then, has continued to promote gender equity. In 2015, the NZOC became the first National Olympic Committee (NOC) to win the IOC ‘Women in Sport’ World Trophy. Kereyn is also a Foundation Member of Women in Sport Aotearoa.

Read some of the media coverage post-interview:

This week’s moderator – journalist and commentator Rikki Swannell!

We are delighted to welcome Rikki as our moderator for Week One!

Rikki has been a sports broadcaster for 15 years, and now works in a freelance capacity as a commentator and reporter. She can largely be heard on Sky Sport New Zealand, where she is a regular commentator on netball, rugby and tennis, and on the World 7s series, working for World Rugby. She started her career as a journalist at Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB and has covered everything from snooker and darts to cricket and rowing, Olympic and Commonwealth Games and various World Cups. Since going it alone in 2016, Rikki has diversified to become an accomplished event MC, long-form print and online writer, media advisor and trainer and web copy-writer. She has a keen interest in the business of sport, governance and media issues. Rikki has kindly provided her services free to help this series.

Those interested in working with Rikki should contact her at We highly recommend her!

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