Southland's first representative for next year's London Olympic Games has been confirmed.
Graham Sycamore has been appointed as a commissaire, or judge, for the six-day track cycling programme at the new Ron Webb-designed velodrome to the north of the Olympic precinct.
An experienced cycling official, Sycamore has attended three Olympics as a spectator, commissaire or technical official, including Los Angeles in 1984, Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992.
He has also officiated at seven Commonwealth Games, including the Delhi Games last year, but getting the London gig had come as something of a shock.
"It was about the biggest surprise I've ever had in my life, I think," Sycamore said.
Sycamore, who will be 70 at next year's Olympics, had not expected to get any more big assignments from cycling's governing body, the UCI, which has a retirement age of 70 for its officials.
"I know some guys who have got to 70 and never got any jobs in that year. Maybe I haven't gone too bad at it," he said.
Six commissaires have been appointed for the track cycling programme, with Sycamore the only one from Australasia.
The London velodrome is an impressive building, with seating for 6000 over two tiers.
After the Games, a mountainbiking course and road cycling circuit will be added around the velodrome area.
Meanwhile, Invercargill's ILT Velodrome will host the Oceania track cycling championships in November.
The Oceania event will take on a greater importance this year, with qualification points for the Olympics up for grabs.
Dates for the championships are yet to be confirmed but the event will probably start around the middle of November.
- The Southland Times