Triathlete Andrea Hewitt has become the first athlete to gain selection into the New Zealand Team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Hewitt achieved the New Zealand Olympic Committee selection criteria with three World Triathlon Series podium finishes, the first occurring in the 2014 Grand Final in Edmonton, followed by bronze medals in Auckland and Stockholm in 2015.
Hewitt's selection is, however, conditional upon New Zealand receiving a quota spot for the Rio 2016 Women's Triathlon Event, which is likely to be confirmed at the end of May 2016.
Hewitt said it's incredibly special to be the first New Zealander officially selected for Rio.
"I am very proud to be the first New Zealander selected to represent our country at the Olympic Games in Rio. I want to use the time in the lead up to prepare as best I can to wear the silver fern and represent New Zealand proudly in Rio next year."
"Gaining selection to the Olympic Games is a challenging process, as it should be, no one should expect to have an easy path."
"But the criteria was made clear and outlined early by Tri NZ and I was able to plan back in March as to how I would go about achieving a nomination to the New Zealand Olympic Committee and then ultimately selection. I was able to achieve that early in the process, in April at the Auckland World Triathlon Series, which with a home crowd made it all the better."
"My focus now is keeping everything right, my environment, my training, and my team."
Hewitt's selection is the first of what is set to be New Zealand's biggest Olympic Team ever. More than 200 athletes are expected to represent New Zealand in Rio 2016.
The next opportunity for New Zealand Triathletes to gain selection to the New Zealand Team for Rio will be at the end of May 2016.
The majority of selections for the New Zealand Team to the Rio Olympic Games are expected to take place between March and July 2016.