Olympic medallists receive heroes' welcome

Olympic bronze medallists Nico Porteous and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott received a huge reception from...
Olympic bronze medallists Nico Porteous and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott received a huge reception from Zoi's school, Mount Aspiring College, yesterday morning. Photos: Gregor Richardson
An array of signs are held aloft by the crowd.
An array of signs are held aloft by the crowd.
More than 1000 people lined the streets of Wanaka to celebrate the pair's success in Korea.
More than 1000 people lined the streets of Wanaka to celebrate the pair's success in Korea.

Euphoria swept through Wanaka as the community welcomed home its successful Winter Olympians Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous with cheers and a deafening haka.

More than 1000 supporters of all ages lined the streets of central Wanaka yesterday afternoon for a parade celebrating the two bronze-medal winning teenagers.

"It's insane. I didn't expect this many people, it's incredible. The amount of support we've received over the past two weeks has been out of this world," Porteous said.

Hundreds of local schoolchildren beamed with joy as both Porteous and Sadowski-Synnott took time to sign autographs and show off their medals.

Others brought home-made signs which they held aloft as their newest heroes went by.

Wanaka has many events over the summer, but this one easily took the cake for the sheer amount of support and energy.

The two were joined in the parade by other Kiwi Olympians Byron Wells, Britt Hawes and Tiarn Collins, and Jossi Wells, who missed out through injury.

Queenstown Lakes deputy mayor Calum MacLeod led the congratulations on behalf of the community.

"We're all proud of the way they've performed and Wanaka is proud of the way they've presented themselves ever since."

Earlier in the day, the pair were welcomed to Sadowski-Synnott's school, Mount Aspiring College, with a deafening mass haka, performed by more than 1000 pupils, which Porteous said left him "literally shaking".

"I just hope as many people in this room will get into freeskiing as possible," he told the crowd.

As for his own inspiration, he pointed to Sadowski-Synnott.

"She medalled right before when I was about to drop in for my competition, so to have that happen and to have her break the medal drought right before I was competing was kind of like `this is do-able, Kiwis can get medals'," he said.

In her final year at Mount Aspiring College, Sadowski-Synnott said she loved being back at school and confirmed she was "definitely not going to go to any classes".

Both are not hanging around for long.

At the end of the week Porteous heads to Switzerland to ski with friends, while Sadowski-Synnott jets off at the same time to Colorado, to compete in the US Open.

Add a Comment

1218b006_620x60_v2.jpg

1218b006_620x40_v2.jpg