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The New Zealand Team will recognise its two teenage medallists as team leaders as New Zealand's most successful Olympic Winter campaign draws to a close.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has been named official flag bearer for tonight's Closing Ceremony after she became the first New Zealander to win an Olympic Winter medal in 26 years.
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Above: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott

Her teammate and fellow bronze medal winner Nico Porteous will also be honoured during the ceremony and will lead the New Zealand delegation into the stadium.

Athletes will be wearing their black team uniform which features New Zealand written in both English and Korean. The use of the Korean language has proven a popular touch in PyeongChang, generating positive local media coverage and enthusiastic public feedback.

After two bronze medals, three fourths, a fifth and six Olympic Diplomas (top eight finish) over 17 days and 35 events, the New Zealand Team has much to be proud of.

“This is undoubtedly the most successful Olympic Winter Team in New Zealand's history. We’re looking forward to marching in the closing ceremony tonight and reflecting on our team’s success,” said Chef de Mission Pete Wardell.

“These 21 Olympic Winter athletes have really inspired New Zealand with their courage, determination and ability. What’s more, they’ve worked together to support and inspire each other. I couldn’t be more proud.

 “I’m especially delighted to recognise both Zoi and Nico tonight. Winning our first and second medals in 26 years has meant they will go down in New Zealand sporting history.”

“The bravery and skill it took to complete their tricks cannot be underestimated and I commend them for it,” concluded Wardell.
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Above: Nico Porteous

Kereyn Smith, NZOC CEO, said the strong results recorded by the New Zealand Team illustrate the increasing the depth in New Zealand’s Olympic Winter sports on both snow and ice as well as the hard work of athletes, coaches and support staff.

“I would also like to recognise the athletes that came so close to the podium,” she said. “Beau James Wells finished with an outstanding performance just behind Nico in the men’s freeski halfpipe and Carlos Garcia Knight was fifth in the snowboard slopestyle.

"Peter Michael showed us New Zealand’s capability on the ice as he finished fourth in the men’s speedskating 5,000 metres and again with teammates Shane Dobbin and Reyon Kay as part of the men’s Team Pursuit.”

Byron Wells, Finn Bilous, Janina Kuzma also claimed top 16 results.

The team was notable for the prevalence of young athletes. Alice Robinson, Nico and Miguel Porteous, Finn Bilous, Tiarn Collins, Jackson Wells and Zoi Sydowski-Synnott are all in their teens and have strong futures in Olympic Winter sports.

The Olympic Games are known for heartbreak as well as elation, and the thoughts of the nation were with Byron Wells as he fell in training, damaging his knee just moments before the men’s freeski halfpipe final in which he was set to shine. Rhys Thornbury’s anguish was apparent after his sled came out of the grooves in his final Olympic push, relegating him to fourteenth. Tiarn Collins also fell during training, dislocating his shoulder before he was able to compete at his first Olympic Games. 

Ashley Light, Snowsports High Performance congratulated and thanked the team.

“Obviously we are thrilled with the personal best performances of all the athletes and the icing on the cake was the two bronze medals.

"The performances of our athletes and the medal achievements show the Snowsports New Zealand (SSNZ) strategy is working well and we are looking forward to the next Olympic Winter Games, Beijing 2022.

A big thanks to the coaches and support staff, whom without the athletes would face an even greater challenge.”
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Above: Nico Porteous competing

Michael Scott, CEO of High Performance Sport New Zealand also congratulated the New Zealand Olympic Team.

“I would like to congratulate all the athletes, coaches and support team on their performance as well as the New Zealand Olympic Committee which has created an outstanding games time environment that enabled our athletes to achieve.
 
“The success of the New Zealand team at PyeongChang 2018 demonstrates the strength of New Zealand’s wider high performance system and I hope the skill, courage and determination demonstrated by our athletes have made New Zealanders proud and been an inspiration to all."
 
The Closing Ceremony kicks off tonight at midnight New Zealand time.

PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games
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