Sir Peter Snell happy to gift memorabilia to New Zealand

News 18/04/2017

Running champion Sir Peter Snell is feeling "real good" about gifting Te Papa museum items from key moments in his career.

The three-time Olympic gold medal winner says he gifted the items to the museum after Te Papa came close to spending $140,000 on a singlet auctioned as that worn by Sir Peter when he won gold in Tokyo, 1964. The sale didn't go ahead after the authenticity of the singlet was questioned.

Sir Peter said he always felt the items belonged to the nation anyway - he was simply "holding onto them for New Zealand".

"I offered them everything I had and they took their pick of the items to, as they say, tell a story about my career," he told The AM Show.

Sir Peter will be welcomed with a pōwhiri in Wellington on Tuesday, to mark the opening of display featuring 14 items, including his legendary gold medals and shoes handmade by his coach Arthur Lydiard and worn during his 1960 gold medal-winning race in Rome.

With the items joining Te Papa's national history competition, Sir Peter's personal collection is looking sparse.

"None of my apparel is left at all", he said cheerfully. "It's going to save all sorts of family arguments down the line."

As for the famous handmade medal-winning shoes, Sir Peter cast doubt on their fabled soles.

"[Arthur Lydiard] always thought that he could make better shoes than the ones that were on the market.

"I thought there was a little bit of difference and not in the right direction."

Now 78, Sir Peter is visiting New Zealand from his home in Texas in order to take part in the World Masters table tennis competition.