25 Aug 2012

Southland welcomes home Olympic athletes

11:50 am on 25 August 2012

Southland has welcomed home its Olympic athletes with thousands lining the streets of Invercargill to catch a glimpse of the region's medal winners.

Ticker tape rained down from the buildings as the procession made its way to the Civic Theatre for an official mayoral reception on Thursday afternoon.

Seven athletes from Southland competed at the London Games, with rower Nathan Cohen returning with the province's first gold medal after winning the double sculls race with Joseph Sullivan.

Cohen was visibly moved by the turnout. "It's overwhelming, very humbling just to see that reception we had ... I'm almost lost for words."

Rower Storm Uru picked up a bronze medal with Peter Taylor in the lightweight double sculls and says without the support of his fellow Southlanders, he would never have achieved what he did.

Most of New Zealand's Olympic athletes will be welcomed home at the official national event in Christchurch on Friday.

Shot-put gold medalist Valerie Adams is competing overseas until September.