New Zealand Snowsports athletes have secured four medals across both snowboard and freeski disciplines at two high profile Olympic events over the last fortnight.
Overnight Olympic Snowboarder Christy Prior won bronze in the penultimate slopestyle World Cup of the season which was staged at the Bokwang Phoenix Park, Korea and served as the official Olympic test event for the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Olympian Jossi Wells (freeski) also medalled at the test event earning bronze in the freeski slopestyle on Saturday.
New Zealand also secured medals at the Lillehammer Youth Olympic Winter Games. Sixteen year old Finn Bilous won both silver and bronze the second edition of Olympic event in Lillehammer, Norway in freeski halfpipe and slopestyle respectively, demonstrating New Zealand’s increasing profile in Olympic winter sports.
New Zealand competed in the exciting disciplines of snowboard slopestyle and freeski halfpipe and slopestyle for the first time at the events’ debut at Sochi 2014 and is focussed on developing an increasingly strong performance pathway.
With just two years until the Pyeong Chang Olympic Winter Games Snow Sports NZ Head Park & Pipe Coach Tom Willmott says “There are definitely areas for us to work on to ensure we can be more robust in two years’ time. We now have really clear direction about where we’re doing well and where we can make gains.”
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith says the Youth Olympic Games are an important step in the development of athletes ahead of an elite future and test events are crucial in continuing to build Olympic-knowledge for sports new to the Olympic Programme.
“New Zealand has real potential in snowboard and freeski events at the Olympic Games and we’re delighted to see four medals earned by Kiwi athletes at both PyeongChang and Lillehammer,” she said. “The experience gained by the athletes will only serve to strengthen their future Olympic campaigns.”
Both the Lillehammer Youth Olympic Winter Games and the PyeongChang Olympic Test event concluded on 21st February.Lillehammer 2016 Olympic Winter Games Olympic Winter Youth Games