New Zealand has tripled its Olympic Winter Games medal count in a single stunning afternoon at PyeongChang 2018.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott’s bronze medal has been followed up by bronze from Nico Porteous in the men’s freeski halfpipe.
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith said she was over the moon for both Porteous and Sadowski-Synnott.
“We’re really made a mark in Olympic Winter sport today and we couldn’t be more pleased for the athletes, coaches and support staff who have worked so hard to achieve these great results.”
“It’s also exceptionally exciting to see New Zealand’s young athletes in this outstanding position and to see the joy on Nico’s face when he realised his score is a moment that we’ll share as a nation.”
“The Olympic Games are the hardest of all sporting environments and park and pipe snow sports, in particular, are incredibly exciting, challenging and risky.
“Having two sixteen-year-old medallists today is so inspirational for young people.
“I would personally like to congratulate Nico, his support team and family today.
“I also thank Chef de Mission Pete Wardell for his stewardship of the Olympic team in PyeongChang.”
Nico Porteous replaces Zoi Sadowski-Synnott as New Zealand’s youngest Olympic medallist, summer or winter. Nico is 16 years, two months and 30 days old.
The team also extended its thoughts to Byron Wells who suffered a knee injury in training just prior to the men’s halfpipe final today and was unable to start the event.
“We know how devastating this will be for him, particularly after his strong performance in the qualifiers,” said Smith.
About Nico Porteous
Nico Porteous began skiing at the age of four on a family holiday to France. With Mum, Dad and older brother Miguel already keen skiers, Nico was determined not to miss out. With a solid skill base from race training under his belt, the Christchurch athlete made the switch to freeskiing at the age of nine and quickly began chalking up a string of top level results.
By thirteen Porteous had joined his brother Miguel chasing back to back winters, training and competing in Breckenridge in the USA and Cardrona Alpine Resort in NZ, balancing his sports commitments with school work. As one of the youngest skiers on the circuit he earned the nickname ‘Nipsy’ but also the respect of the freeski elite.
The 2015-2016 season saw Nico claim wins in freeski halfpipe at the Copper Mountain Rev Tour and the Calgary NorAM, earning him the overall title in FIS Freeski Halfpipe NorAM for the season.
In 2016, at the age of fourteen, Nico became the first Kiwi and youngest person in the world to land a triple cork 1440.
Porteous is also a keen ice hockey fan and avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
About Zoi Sadowski-Synnott
Snowboard slopestyle athelete Zoi Sadowski-Synnott learnt to ski as a pre-schooler and switched to snowboarding at the age of nine, joining in on her older sister’s lesson at SnowPark NZ and encouraged by her brothers and dad.
With her family keen to teach her the tricks of the trade, her competitive nature kicked in and Sadowski-Synnott began to enjoy the energy and excitement of event days and the challenge of putting down big tricks in front of a crowd.
At the World Champs in March 2016, Sadowski-Synnott finished fourth in Big Air and claimed a silver medal in slopestyle. She went on to claim World Cup gold in slopestyle in Spindleruv Mlyn two weeks later, and at 16 is the youngest woman to win gold in snowboard slopestyle.
Sadowski-Synnott finished 13th in the women’s snowboard slopestyle at PyeongChang 2018 before winning bronze in the women’s snowboard Big Air.
When she’s not on snow, Zoi focuses on schoolwork and loves skating and spending time with friends.
New Zealand’s first Olympic Winter Medal was won at Albertville 1992 by Annelise Coberger in Alpine Skiing.