Games glory for young Wanaka pair

Wanaka winter athlete Nico Porteous poses with the New Zealand flag after taking bronze in the...
Wanaka winter athlete Nico Porteous poses with the New Zealand flag after taking bronze in the men's freestyle ski halfpipe in PyeongChang yesterday. Photos: Getty Images
How's that for a switch backside 900 with a stalefish grab?

OK - not really sure what that is but Wanaka teenager Zoi Sadowski-Synnott absolutely nailed it.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott shortly after winning the bronze medal in the women's big air snowboard...
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott shortly after winning the bronze medal in the women's big air snowboard competition at PyeongChang, South Korea.
The 16-year-old snowboarder created history in PyeongChang yesterday with bronze in the women's big air. She became the first New Zealander to win a medal at the Winter Olympics since Annelise Coberger won a silver medal in the slalom at the 1992 Games in France.

Then, a few hours later, Nico Porteous, also from Wanaka, won bronze in the men's ski halfpipe to take New Zealand's all-time total to three medals.

The baby of the team put down an "insane" run in his second attempt, scoring 94.8 to move to the top of the leaderboard.

The 16-year-old, who admitted he was so nervous he vomited multiple times before starting his run, could hardly believe his score. With mouth agape and hands on head in shock, Porteous was clearly stunned - and overjoyed - at his performance.

"I'm actually quite surprised I didn't pass out," Porteous laughed.

"That was insane to see that score come up on the board. I couldn't take that smile off my face the whole way up the chairlift."

United States competitors David Wise (97.20) and Alex Ferreira (96.40) were able to respond, pushing Porteous into the bronze medal position.

The 16-year-old had a tense wait at the bottom of the halfpipe during the final round.

"To be honest, I was nervous but I had done as much as I could and, if that wasn't enough, then it wasn't enough," Porteous told the Sky Sport commentary team.

"I was super proud with how I skied."

Fellow New Zealander Beau-James Wells finished strongly with a run which threatened to push his team-mate out of the medals. He had to settle for fourth, though,

Earlier, there was heartbreak for the Wells family. Byron was forced to withdraw after he injured himself shortly before the final.

Byron was considered by many as New Zealand's best chance at a medal.

Sadowski-Synnott, who is a pupil at Mount Aspiring College, was still trying to absorb what had happened when she spoke to Sky Sport shortly after her event.

"Crazy. I can't really feel much - it hasn't really sunk in yet," she said.

"I was sitting down the bottom after my third run and ... they [said] you have to wait because you're in third, and I was like, OK.

"I'll just chill here and I'll probably have to leave soon, because there were some riders who were some pretty heavy hitters.

"Then the last girl went who wasn't yet on the podium and she didn't quite land, then I realised I was in third and it was a pretty crazy feeling.

"That second jump, I think that's the best I've done it ... so I'm just so stoked."

Sadowski-Synnott scored 92 with her second jump to move into the bronze medal position.

She was unable to land her third jump but with two of the three runs counting, Sadowski-Synnott had banked enough points to win New Zealand's first medal in 26 years.

Austria's Anna Gasser snatched gold with a wonderful last run, demoting Jamie Anderson, of the United States, to the silver.

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