Lisa Carrington - a star is born

The Olympic gold medal winner has the country at her feet, and could do for some time

Let's put it on the record now. Lisa Carrington's going to be big. Last night's gold medal is a great launching pad and at just 23 years-old she has plenty of years to win the public's adoration again and again and again.

Carrington was the youngest competitor in that kayaking final -- according to the commentator I heard -- so she has the chance to dominate her sport. Having years in the spotlight is a great start. But more than that she has everything that New Zealanders like.

She's a winner, she's pretty and she's self-effacing. To see her on Marae Investigates just hours after the win was to see a young woman who was confident and articulate, but who looked at the ground at her brothers spoke, who took a ribbing from her family with good grace and who never once boasted.

It seems she's articulate and not afraid to give an interview. The camera loves her and her teeth are almost as good as Sarah Walker's!

Carrington is the next Barbara Kendall, the next Sarah Ulmer, when it comes to being the nation's sporting sweetheart. The only thing that could hold her back is the relative obscurity of her sport. She can't turn out in a test match a dozen times a year. Still, there are other ways she can stay in the public eye.

Ad campaigns and the speaking circuit await, and there's some good money in that. You'd think she could pull up to $10,000 for a speech if she can find a clever line or two and maybe come up with some tips that share the secrets of her success.

Television will lap her up and if I had a magazine, she'd be the one you wanted on the cover next week.