Young stars bag New Zealand's first two Winter Olympic medals in 26 years

New Zealand had to wait 26 years to win their second Winter Olympic medal but less than two hours for their third thanks to 16-year-olds Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous.

Freeskier Porteous claimed halfpipe bronze after Sadowski-Synnott won bronze in the snowboard big air in PyeongChang today.

Sadowski-Synnott landed a double wildcat (two backflips with a grab) and a switch back 900 (2.5 rotations) to become the second ever Kiwi Winter Olympic medallist. Alpine skiier Annelise Coberger was the first, taking silver in Albertville in 1992.

"I can't really feel much right now. It hasn't really hit me," Sadowski-Synnott said.

"I've never done dub cat and switch back nine in a final before so I was so happy.

"That's the best I think I've ever done that trick (900). I was just so happy, I didn't even care about the score.

"It's been pretty crazy. I'm so, so grateful for the experience. It's just not like any other comp. It's intense and there's so much hype."

Porteous, who scraped into the halfpipe final in 11th, laid down a sublime second run, scoring 94.8 to finish behind Americans David Wise and Alex Ferreira who won gold and silver respectively.

He landed five clean double cork variations to improve on his first run scored 82.4 and sit briefly in the gold position before being pushed down by Wise (97.2).

Porteous carved straight down the pipe on his final attempt believing his best had already come but hoping none of the remaining 10 riders would eclipse him on their last runs, with Ferreira (96.4) the only to do so.

"In my dreams I couldn't have done a better run. That was insane," Porteous said.

"It was my first time ever doing five doubles (corks) in a run. I had never linked any of those combos before today."

Porteous held off countryman and flagbearer Beau-James Wells (91.6) in fourth, while fourth qualifier Byron Wells was a late scratching after injuring his knee in the warm-up to continue his difficult Olympic story having pulled out of Sochi.

One of the Kiwis' best medal prospects, Sadowski-Synnott failed to make an impact in her other event, the slopestyle, finishing 13th in windy conditions last week

But her Olympic success comes as no surprise given she's a three-time World Cup medallist.

Sadowski-Synnott opened with the double wildcat and was scored 65.5 to sit eighth before landing the 900 which put her briefly in the silver medal position.

Austrian Anna Gasser landed a double cork 1080 to claim gold ahead of two-time gold medallist Jamie Anderson of the US.

The Kiwis registered their third top-five finish of the Games the previous night when their speed skaters were fourth in the team pursuit, sparking fears the failure to win a medal could extend to at least 30 years.

Chef de mission Pete Wardell remained confident the country would not leave PyeongChang empty-handed.

But he was reluctant to suggest a period of winter sports dominance could be looming for a nation so blessed with favourable geography and world class competition facilities.

"We lost some of our big stars before they came. I was saying the young people will step up and do us proud," he told NZ Newswire in the vicinity of NZ sports minister Grant Robertson.

"We probably don't have enough people to be dominant but there's a great group of young people underneath.

"We've got the minister for sport here, so we're twisting his arm already about funding."

New Zealand may be on track for their most successful Winter Games with snowboarder Carlos Garcia Knight qualifying top for Saturday's big air final.


Topics



'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


Topics


Watch: The adorable moment Kiwi cyclist George Bennett gained a young fan for life

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett may have had a disappointing finish on the Tour of Spain but a video has emerged that is sure to win him plenty of fans despite the result.

Bennett finished outside the top 10 at the Vuelta a Espana but took time on the final stage to make one young fan's day.

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

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

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

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


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Black Sox welcome back veterans in 25-man squad as attention turns from Europe tour to 2019 World Champs

The Black Sox have welcomed back a wealth of experience as well as another young pitching talent to their squad as they turn their attention from their Europe tour to next year's World Championships.

Coach Mark Sorenson has named a 25-man squad to attend a training camp in Palmerston North later this month.

All 17 players who were part of the successful Intercontinental Cup campaign in Prague last month have been included with veteran stars Nathan Nukunuku, Wayne Laulu, Tyrone Bartorillo, Josh Harbrow and Josh Pettett rejoining the squad as well.

The Black Sox used the trip to Europe as an opportunity to introduce six new caps while also getting a better understanding of the playing environment in Prague, where next year's World Championships are also being held.

"The 17 players who toured this year laid down a marker for what is required next year, but we are also excited about welcoming back some of our veteran players, and the competition for places that this will generate," Sorenson said.

"There are still a number of spots up for grabs in the World Cup squad and this camp represents the first step in making this team."

Sorenson has also included Wellington's Zac Boyd after his impressive showing at the Black Sox trials in February while Auckland catcher Harrison Valk has also been included following his strong performance with the Junior Black Sox at the U19 World Championships.

However a new face in the squad is Cantabrian pitcher Ben Watts.

Watts impressed at the National Open Clubs tournament earlier this year, guiding Papanui to the final before they were taken down by Nukunuku's Mount Albert Ramblers.

It's hoped Watts' selection will "bring plenty of heat to the pitching roster" and "further their depth".

The squad will assemble in Palmerston North from October 26-28.

Black Sox: Pita Rona (North Harbour), Benjamin Enoka, Campbell Enoka, Campbell Gibson, Cole Evans, Daniel Chapman, Eruera Drage, Harrison Valk, Kallan Compain, Nathan Nukunuku, Rhys Evans, Thomas Enoka, Zane Van Lieshout (Auckland), Joel Evans, Joseph Ferriso, Nikki Hayes (Hutt Valley), Jerome Raemaki, Josh Petitt, Wayne Laulu, Zac Boyd (Wellington), Ben Watts, Jackson Watt, Joshua Harbrow, Reilly Makea, Tyron Bartarillo (Canterbury).

Junior Black Sox Reilly Makea bats against Czech Republic.
Junior Black Sox Reilly Makea bats against Czech Republic. Source: Softball NZ


Watch: Aussie rookie leaves NFL commentators perplexed with use of drop kicks

An Australian kicker playing his first season in the NFL caught the attention of commentators in today's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears by introducing a rugby technique to the sport.

Rookie punter Michael Dickson left ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten stunned after he performed drop kick kick-offs in the Seahawks' 24-17 loss.

"A drop kick kick-off?" Tessitore asked.

"We are going to send our stat folks into overdrive here, but I'm going to put it out there.

"You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?"

"I don't know if it ever happened Joe," Witten, a star tight end for the Dallas Cowboys for 15 years, replied.

Veteran Sebastian Janikowski usually kicks off for Seattle and uses a tee but coach Pete Carroll, who is known for using non-traditional methods, gambled with Dickson's rugby method.

With 14 seconds left in the game and the Seahawks needing a touchdown to tie, the Aussie attempted a short drop kick hoping his team would recover.

They didn't and the Bears held on for the win, leaving Seattle without a win in their first two games of the new season.

"We're still a work in progress," Carroll said.

"You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?" ESPN's Joe Tessitore said. Source: SKY


Topics