Ian Ferguson
Ian ferguson.jpg
Personal information
Full nameIan Gordon Ferguson
Born (1952-06-20) 20 June 1952 (age 70)
Taumarunui, New Zealand
RelativesSteven Ferguson (son)
CountryNew Zealand
SportCanoe racing
Event(s)canoe sprint
PartnerPaul MacDonald
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals1980, 1984, 1988, 1992

Ian Gordon Ferguson MBE (born 20 July 1952) is New Zealand's second most successful Olympian. He won four Olympic gold medals competing in K1, K2, and K4 kayak events, and attended five Summer Olympics between 1976 and 1992. He also won two canoe sprint world championship titles.

Early life and family

Ferguson was born in Taumarunui on 20 July 1952, the son of Gilbert and Winsome Ferguson.[1] He was educated at Palmerston North Boys' High School,[1] and was an all-round sportsperson, achieving in running and rugby union, and becoming the school swimming champion.[2] Ferguson studied at Victoria University of Wellington, completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degree in 1976.[1]

In 1973, Ferguson married his wife, Alyson, and the couple went on to have two children.[1]

Sporting career and honours

At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles he won three gold medals. In the same year he was named New Zealand sportsperson of the year.[3]

In the 1985 New Year Honours, Ferguson was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to canoeing.[4]

New Zealand's flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics,[3] he went on to win another gold medal and a silver medal at that Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. He was the first New Zealander to compete in five Olympic Games and his four gold medals was the New Zealand record for an individual haul at the Games until beaten by fellow canoeist Lisa Carrington in 2021. His five Olympic medals is the second-highest number of Olympic medals won by a New Zealander, a record he shares with fellow canoeist Paul MacDonald and equestrian Mark Todd.[5]

Post professional sports

In 1990 Ferguson started a kayak retail and hire business named Ferg's Kayaks.[2]

Ferguson also starred in the NZ TV show Clash of the Codes, having been in the winning team on two occasions.

In 2009, Ferguson began fronting a campaign to build an international whitewater canoeing stadium in Manukau City.[6] Vector Wero Whitewater Park was opened in 2016, with Ferguson as general manager.[7][8][9]

Ferguson's son, Steven Ferguson, has also represented New Zealand at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, both in canoeing and swimming events.


  1. ^ a b c d Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 139. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  2. ^ a b "Ian Ferguson – Biography". ICMI. Archived from the original on 23 February 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b "About CRNZ". Canoe Racing New Zealand. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  4. ^ "No. 49970". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 31 December 1984. p. 2.
  5. ^ "Sir Mark Todd overcome with emotion at prospect of sixth Olympic equestrian medal". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Ferguson Plans Whitewater Course". The New Zealand Herald. 12 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Whitewater park years in the making opens". The New Zealand Herald. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  8. ^ Apted, Alan (21 November 2016). "Sport: World best paddlers in Manukau for WhitewaterXL at Wero Whitewater Park". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Vector Wero Whitewater Park - Ian Ferguson". Radio New Zealand. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
Awards Preceded byChris Lewis New Zealand's Sportsman of the Year 1984 Succeeded bySusan Devoy Preceded byRebecca Perrott Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee 197919841985 (with: Paul MacDonald) Succeeded byAnthony Cuff Preceded byDavid Barnes and Hamish Willcox Succeeded byhimself and Paul MacDonald Preceded byhimself Succeeded byAnthony Mosse