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.

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

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

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.

Her mum cried watching on. So did her dad.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

loading error