Winter Olympics Blog: I got to witness NZ sporting history twice in two hours, and I have two nerves-defying 16-year-olds to thank for it

Nico Porteous spewed three times in the training session ahead of the free skiing halfpipe finals.

He couldn't eat breakfast. This is all understandable.

After all, at 16-years-old, Porteous was about to go out and compete in the biggest event of his life against some of the biggest names in his sport.

So he didn't eat, and he vomited from the nerves - but then the Wanaka teenager went out and put down two personal best runs to secure an Olympic bronze medal.

The 16-year-old couldn’t stop smiling after his third placing at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Source: 1 NEWS

Maybe it was helped by the good news he'd heard just beforehand.

Another 16-year-old from Wanaka, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, had broken a 26-year-long drought.

She had claimed bronze in the big air snowboarding competition, in large part thanks to a high-flying trick that scored a mammoth 92 points.

Zoi's parents Sean Synnott and Robyn Sadowski were on hand to witness the 16-year-old leap into history. Source: Seven Sharp

Her mum cried watching on. So did her dad.

He told me later he doesn't know how she manages to do it – get up, train, be an excellent student heading into her final year of high school, and on top of it all be a history-making Winter Olympics medallist.

Sadowski-Synnott, 16, said she couldn't believe she was standing next to some of her snowboarding idols on the podium in PyeongChang. Source: 1 NEWS

Her parents joke that getting out of dishes duty (much to the chagrin of her siblings) may help.

Two teenagers, separated by all of 262 days. Two bronze medals, won in two hours, after a 26 year long wait.

And it wasn’t just the weight of history, but the weight of pressure that the New Zealand team faced as well.

They were talked up as the most promising team in years, the biggest ever sent to a Winter Olympics. They'd targeted a solitary medal, and they were empty handed with just four days of competition left.

Nico Porteous and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, both 16, did the country proud, says the 1 NEWS reporter. Source: Breakfast

There were brave fourths and fifths – particularly from the speed skaters, who only hours before had come a fraction of a second away from a colossal, medal-winning upset.

Then, on a remarkable Thursday, two teenagers faced down history and pressure and expectation and emerged with medals, adding their names to Kiwi sporting history books that've only ever featured the name Annelise Coberger.

It's an unforgettable feeling to know you've watched history being made, and an incredible privilege to have a small role in sharing the stories of people who created it.

I have a couple of 16-year-olds to thank for that.



North and South Korea confirm joint bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement today that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

At a major summit, the two leaders gave no details of which cities might host certain events at the games, or how advanced the plans were.

The International Olympic Committee traditionally does not announce host cities until seven years ahead of the games. That would give the Koreas until 2025 to put together a joint bid.

Germany has already announced plans for a multi-city bid for 2032, as has Brisbane, Australia. The India Olympic Committee has also indicated its interest in hosting the 2032 Games.

A successful bid by the Koreas would mark the second time South Korea hosted or co-hosted the Summer Games, the first being 1988 in Seoul. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

Asia also features in the next two Olympics — the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, which also hosted the summer version in 2008.

The joint statement today also said the Koreas would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, also without elaborating.

South Korean President Moon Jae In (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a pine tree planting ceremony in the border village of Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool) (Kyodo)
==Kyodo
(Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In took part in an historic meeting in April. Source: Getty


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Eden Park's new Our Wāhine mural showcases iconic female athletes to celebrate women’s suffrage anniversary

Auckland sports stadium Eden Park has unveiled a new mural dedicated to iconic New Zealand sportswomen as part of celebrations of the 125th anniversary since Kiwi women gained the right to vote.

The mural, which spans multiple areas of the stadium, includes Yvette Williams (track and field), Suzie Bates (cricket), Farah Palmer, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (rugby), Ruia Morrison (tennis), Dame Valerie Adams (shot put) and Lisa Carrington (kayaking).

Eden Park commissioned Kiwi artist Kate Hursthouse for the artwork.

Hursthouse says 'Our Wāhine' was a special piece for her.

"It's great to have such an iconic venue in my local neighbourhood celebrate New Zealand sportswomen, acknowledge Suffrage 125 and additionally make these seven women a permanent feature of the stadium," she said.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said inspiration for the mural came from last month's Black Ferns Test match against the Wallaroos.

"My great grandmother signed the scroll to get women the vote," he said.

"It's important to celebrate the women who are pushing limits and breaking boundaries in both the professional and sporting worlds. Most of those featured have long affiliations with our stadium."

Dame Valerie Adams and Yvette Williams feature among the seven chosen for the piece. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: MLB pitcher makes insane behind-the-back catch on ball drilled back at him

A Major League Baseball pitcher has shown his teammates how it's done in the field after using some impressive reflexes to turn an unlikely double play.

New York Mets left-hander Steven Matz stunned commentators and players alike after he managed to catch a ball hit straight back at him behind his back before recovering and throwing to first for an innings-ending double play.

Matz allowed Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins on base with a walk in the fifth innings of today's game before Roman Quinn stepped up to the plate with one out.

Quinn laced a pitch back up the middle of the diamond for what looked like a safe hit until Matz managed to get his glove behind and fall to the ground to not only stop the ball, but make a catch.

Hoskins, who jumped on contact was left frozen and flat-footed by the play as Matz recovered and threw to first base from his knees to complete the third out and earn applause from the Philadelphia crowd.

Unfortunately for Matz, the effort was in vain as the Mets went down to the Phillies 5-2 thanks to a five-run innings later in the game when he was relieved from the mound.

Mets hurler Steven Matz helped himself out of a sticky situation with this bit of magic. Source: SKY


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'It's a pretty normal thing' - humble Kiwi cyclist George Bennett on viral water bottle gift moment

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett says his kind gesture for a young adoring fan, where he handed the cheering supporter his water bottle, is nothing new.

Bennett became a viral sensation despite finishing outside the top 10 at the Vuelta a Espana, when he took the time on the final stage to make one young fan's day.

After receiving applause from a young supporter, Bennett decided to give him an unexpected reward for his enthusiastic cheers during one of the event's climbs – his water bottle.

"This kid was still screaming full gas like I could win the race but I was 15 minutes behind at that stage," Bennett told Stuff.

"I've thrown a thousand bottles to kids in my career and I'll probably throw a thousand more."

The moment was caught on video and shared by the boy's family online.

The gesture has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times with many heaping praise on Bennett for the gesture.

"This one just got caught on video and there's just something about how enthusiastic the kid was," he said.

"But it's a pretty normal thing at the end of a bike race; there's thousands of kids screaming for your bottle when you're riding to the finish.

"It's quite a cool thing because the fans are so connected to the riders, they're so close and for us it's a bottle, we go through 15-20 a day, but for them it's something pretty cool and hopefully it gets them into cycling."

Bennett may have had a disappointing finish in the Tour of Spain but he made sure he made someone else’s day. Source: 1 NEWS


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