Wanaka freeskier Finn Bilous has claimed New Zealand’s first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games medal, winning silver in the halfpipe.
Bilous, who also had the honour of being flag bearer for the New Zealand team at the opening ceremony on Thursday, said
“the Games have been amazing so far. Being flag bearer was a fantastic experience and now winning a medal today just tops everything off.”
New Zealand snowboarders Tiarn Collins and Rakai Tait also enjoyed a successful day of halfpipe competition, finishing in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Collins started out strongly with a score of 72.25.
“My goal was to land a clean run. I put down my safety run on my first go and I wanted to step things up so I decided to try a trick I’d never done before. I’m here at the Youth Olympic Games so I thought why not. It’s a trick I’ve thought about a lot.”
The trick, a front side 10, involves three full rotations with the rider landing switch (backwards). Collins was unsuccessful attempting the trick on his second run but on the third and final run he had it right on lock.
Coming in with a big backside method on the first hit Collins found the amplitude he needed to make the new trick stick and upped his score to 76.25.
Rakai Tait came away from today’s competition “pretty happy” to have met his goal of landing three cleans runs. A fractured wrist sustained during practice earlier in the week did nothing to dampen his efforts in today’s competition.
Sporting a lightweight cast and with medical clearance to compete, Tait boosted out of the pipe looking for the amplitude needed to throw down his most technical tricks. After a few bobbles on his first run he landed his top scoring run of 75.75 on his second attempt.
Following a DNF in yesterday’s Super-G, ski racer Jackson Rich was pleased to post a top 30 result in the Alpine Combined today.
A little hesitant on the Super-G course following yesterday’s crash, Jackson nevertheless made it through the finish gates, placing 38th. Coming into the Slalom he was able to ski more aggressively and lift his placing to 25th.
“It went pretty well but I was a bit behind my normal game,” he explains.
In the women’s field Elizabeth Reid finished 15th in Super-G and 11th overall in the Alpine Combined.
Although inexperienced in this discipline, Elizabeth felt that she hadn’t skied to her full potential and had struggled to transition from the long sweeping turns of the Super-G course to the tight, fast turns of the Slalom.
“I’m definitely happy with the result but I didn’t ski as well as I had hoped.”
With two top twenty finishes under her belt she is now hungry for even better results in the more familiar disciplines of Giant Slalom and Slalom which follow later in the week.
The curlers lifted their performance today, taking points from the current pool leaders, Switzerland and USA.
“They played brilliantly in the first end of both games, stealing 2’s” said Coach Peter Becker.
Courtney Smith played outstandingly in the second game with 91.1%, virtually a perfect game at lead. Tomorrow they face China and Japan where they are hoping to score their first wins.