New Zealand wins historic first Winter Olympics gold
Zoi Sadowski Synnott gave New Zealand their first ever Winter Olympics gold medal after winning the women’s snowboard slopestyle final at the Beijing Games on Sunday.
Sadowski Synnott trailed American Julia Marino going into the final round but pulled out an incredible performance to take the title with the last run of the competition.
The 20-year-old launched into a massive jump with her final trick to earn a winning score of 92.88, before being mobbed at the finish by Marino and bronze medallist Tess Coady of Australia.
“Honestly it’s absolute disbelief but it probably means more to me to win New Zealand’s first Winter Olympic gold,” said Sadowski Synnott, who was born in Sydney.
“It makes me super proud to be a Kiwi.”
Sadowski Synnott’s teammates waved a large New Zealand flag and another bearing the country’s silver fern symbol as she hurtled down the slope.
New Zealand had previously won one silver and two bronze medals at the Winter Olympics — including a third-place finish for Sadowski Synnott in the Big Air competition at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
“It’s New Zealand’s first Winter Olympic gold medal and I hope that I made them proud and that they’ll celebrate for me,” she said.
Sadowski Synnott dazzled the judges by grinding along rails, leaping off huge jumps and sliding along the roof of a traditional Chinese house made from snow en route to the gold.
Marino finished second on 87.68 points, while Coady took bronze on 84.15.
“I’m so happy for her — she’s the one that’s taking the sport to the next level and I’m just happy to be a part of it and be there with her,” Marino said of Sadowski Synnott.
“She’s an amazing rider and an inspiration to all of us.”
Two-time defending champion Jamie Anderson of the United States finished well out of the running in ninth place on 60.78 points.
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