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Kiwi Torch Bearer Ready To Carry Flame For NZ

Kiwi Torch Bearer Ready To Carry The Olympic Flame For New Zealand In Canberra

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Aaron Fleming, New Zealand's only Olympic Torch Bearer, standing on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, Australia

Media release
April 23, 2008


New Zealand’s only torch bearer in the Olympic Torch Relay is “hugely honoured” at the prospect of carrying the flame during tomorrow’s leg in Canberra.

Aaron Fleming, 24, of Hamilton, will be among 80 sports stars, community leaders and unsung heroes who will carry the Olympic torch through the streets of the Australian capital.

Fleming said today from Canberra he was immensely proud to have been given the honour of carrying the torch for New Zealand.

“I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand in this symbolic event. I’m really looking forward to carrying the torch for my country – it’s going to be an awesome experience,” Mr Fleming said.

“As someone who has trained long and hard to compete in sports events, I’m just so thrilled to be taking part in a global event that heralds the coming of the Olympic Games in Beijing.”

Mr Fleming said he hadn’t been told by organisers where he would be positioned on the relay route, or to whom he would hand over the torch.

“In some ways, I’d quite like it to be a surprise. Who knows, I may be giving the torch to Ian Thorpe – that would be incredible!”

Mr Fleming won the right to carry the torch for New Zealand after a nationwide search last year by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) and Samsung New Zealand to find a community hero who embodied the Olympic values of inspiration, respect and excellence.

Aaron showed incredible determination and fortitude to overcome a major illness, train to become an Ironman, and raise money for charity in the process, NZOC Secretary-General Barry Maister said.

“He is an inspiration to New Zealanders – not only has he excelled against all odds, he’s made a valuable contribution to his community,” Mr Maister said.

Aaron suffered a serious lung ailment as a teenager, which was followed by a slow and painful three-year recovery back to good health. Despite the limitations of his condition, Aaron decided to begin triathlon training as part of his rehabilitation. After several years of exhaustive conditioning work, Aaron achieved his ultimate goal of completing an Ironman race this year, along the way raising almost $22,000 for the cystic fibrosis charity Breath4CF.

Samsung New Zealand general manager marketing Jean-Philippe Diel says Samsung is proud to partner the IOC in a global event that recognises and celebrates the commitment and hard work of extraordinary people like Aaron.

“Aaron is a great role model, and very deserving of New Zealand’s one and only position in the Olympic Torch Relay. He is passionate about life and an excellent candidate for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Mr Diel said.


About Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2007 consolidated sales of US$103.4 billion (about NZ$135 billion). Employing approximately 150,000 people in 134 offices in 62 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business, Telecommunication Business and Digital Appliance Business. Recognised as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs.

For more information, please visit or call 0800 SAMSUNG

About the NZOC

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is an independent organisation responsible for providing inspirational experiences for athletes at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Youth Games.

The NZOC actively promotes the history and values of the Olympic Movement through a wide variety of cultural and educational programmes, and operates according to the Olympic Charter and Commonwealth Games Constitution.

The NZOC is funded principally through corporate sponsorship, trusts, Sport & Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) and the International Olympic Committee.

To find out more about the NZOC, please visit

About the Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch Relay starts on April 1 and finishes on August 8 at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Canberra is one of 22 cities outside of China which host a leg of the relay on its international tour from April 1-May 3.

It is expected 2380 runners will carry the torch before it heads to China for a three-month relay ending on August 8 at the Games Opening Ceremony.

Other cities on the relay include New Delhi, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Macau, Hong Kong, Seoul, Pyongyang, Nagano, Jakarta, Muscat, Islamabad, Almaty, St Petersburg, Istanbul, Athens, Paris, London, Dar es Salaam, San Francisco, and Buenos Aires.

A total of 21,780 runners will take part in the relay. It will travel more than 137,000km on its 130-day voyage.

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