Central Otago and Upper Clutha athletes have been shining at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon.
On Wednesday night, Lake Hāwea’s Luke Harrold won gold in the men’s freeski halfpipe, while Wānaka’s Fin Melville Ives was just behind in silver.
Harrold, 15, was incredibly impressive, dropping two switch ally-oop double cork 900s as well as a double cork 1260, to score a 94.25-point run first up in the finals.
Fin Melville Ives, 17, answered with a three double run which included a right double 12, left double 12, and an ally-oop double flat 900 to score 92.50.
Those scores remained the two highest for the competition, securing the top two podium spots.
It is the first time New Zealand has won an individual gold medal at any edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, and the first time there has been two New Zealanders on the same podium at any form of Winter Olympic Games.
Last week, Wānaka snowboarder Lucia Georgalli won a silver medal in slopestyle, following a solid showing in her qualifying runs.
"Tricky" conditions with the course icing over saw the Snowboard Slopestyle Junior World Champion unable to land her first two runs, leaving her just one final run to put down a score.
“I was pretty nervous but I just took a deep breath and thought it is what it is, and dropped in,” Georgalli said.
She stuck the run, starting with a technical rail line into a front-7 melon followed by a back-7 mute, giving her a score of 88.25 to take silver.
It was New Zealand’s first snowboard medal at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
On Sunday, Georgalli followed up with another podium finish on Big Air finals day.The 17-year-old landed a backside 900, followed by a frontside 720 in her third run claiming bronze in the women’s snowboard.
The same day fellow Wānaka snowboarder Campbell Melville Ives and Harrold also won a bronze medal each. Harrold led the way for the Kiwis, stomping a right double cork 1440 with a safety grab in his first run.
He backed that up with a left double cork 1440 with a stale grab in his second run for a solid score of 172.25.
Campbell Melville Ives rounded out the day for New Zealand, landing a cab 1440 with an indy grab in his first run, backing it up with a switch back 1260 in his second.
Auckland athlete Yanhao (Dwayne) Li, 15, also created history, winning New Zealand’s first ice figure skating medal at any form of Winter Olympic Games.
Li was clinical in his free skating performance, landing a triple axel for the first time in competition.
He also performed a triple lutz, triple toe loop, and triple lutz double axel-double axel combination to secure the podium spot.