Otago snowboarder claims gold in first World Cup event of 2021

Wanaka snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Photo: Getty Images
Wanaka snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand teenage snowboarding phenomenon Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has kicked off her 2021 World Cup campaign in style in Austria.

Competing in the first Snowboard Big Air World Cup of the season and the first opportunity for athletes to earn qualification points towards the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Sadowski-Synnott overcame an opening-run crash to claim gold.

Thankfully, the competition format allowed her to combine the scores of two of her three runs, meaning her final two were executed superbly while under extreme pressure.

"It was pretty difficult [after crashing the first run], I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I wanted to land the backside 1080 in competition," Sadowski-Synnott said in a statement.

She stomped that backside 1080 - the first time in competition - during her second run before landing a switch back 900 in her third run to take the win with a combined score of 162.40 points.

"I only learnt it [the backside 1080] in New Zealand this summer and so I was just stoked to land that in my second run. It really set me up for the switch back 900."

Japan's Kokomo Murase scored the single highest score of the night but finished in second place with an overall score of 161.80 while Snowboard Big Air veteran Anna Gasser of Austria rounded out the podium in third with a score of 161.40.

"I can't believe it [the level of riding]. Everyone was sending it; the jump was so perfect and girls were sending. It was sick," Sadowski-Synnott said of the competition.

Seven Kiwi athletes competed over the weekend in Kreischberg in both snowboarding and Freeski.

Snowboarders Cool Wakushima (Queenstown) had her World Cup debut finishing in 17th place, Tiarn Collins (Queenstown) finished in 18th place and Mitchell Davern (Auckland) finished in 36th place.

Over on the freeski side Margaux Hackett (Wanaka) finished in 12th place, Ben Barclay (Auckland) finished in 38th place and Luca Harrington (Wanaka) finished in 48th place in his first Big Air World Cup of his career.

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