Winter Olympics: New Zealand teens end country′s long medal-drought | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.02.2018
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Winter Olympics: New Zealand teens end country's long medal-drought

New Zealand have ended their medal-drought of over a quarter century. Two teenagers gave Kiwi fans reason to cheer, capturing the second and third Winter Olympic medals in the country's history.

After having failed to secure a medal at the Winter Olympics for the past 26 years, New Zealand won two in quick succession in Pyeongchang on Thursday.

Just minutes apart, two 16-year-old Kiwis, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (pictured above) and Nico Porteous, won bronze medals in snowboarding and freestyle skiing.

Double wildcat and a switchback

First, Sadowski-Synnott produced an outstanding performance in the inaugural big air snowboarding event, executing a double wildcat and a switchback to earn bronze behind Anna Gasser of Austria, who took gold and American Jamie Anderson, who captured silver.

"It really hasn't sunk in," said a surprised Sadowski-Synnott, who had to be told to wait at the bottom of the course after her third run.    

"I was sitting down the bottom after my third run and they were like 'you have to wait because you're in third' and I was like okay," she added.

Inspired by first Kiwi medal

Olympia 2018 Ski Halfpipe Nico Porteous (Getty Images/S. M. Haffey)

Porteous recovered from a bout of vomiting to win bronze

An hour later, Porteous stood at the top of the halfpipe, and having watched teammate Byron Wells crash out he was so overcome by nerves that he vomited. At the same time though, he was inspired by Sadowski-Synott's performance.

"It was so sick watching her getting a bronze medal right before I was going to drop. It was a huge inspiration for me," he told the Reuters news agency afterwards.

"It is super special and I am so proud to be a New Zealander right now. I think it is safe to say we broke the curse by getting two medals in one day,” added the teenager, who finished behind two Americans, David Wise, who won the gold medal and Alex Ferreira, who took silver.

Wednesday's  two bronze medals were the first for New Zealand at the Winter Olympics, since Annelise Coberger won the country's only previous medal, silver in  the women's slalom in skiing in Albertville in 1992.

pfd/ftm (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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