New Zealanders Carlos Garcia Knight and Zoi Sadowski Synnott have both won bronze medals amongst a star-studded international field at the finals of the World Cup Snowboard Slopestyle.
Competing at the Winter Games at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Christchurch’s Garcia Knight landed back-to-back 1260s in his second run to earn his very first World Cup medal.
“I was pretty nervous at the top,” said Carlos Garcia Knight. “There was a lot of pressure to land it on the second but I knew I had it. I wanted to land the back to back 12s, I’ve never done that before in competition.”
Above: Garcia Knight in action - photo Iain McGregor, Winter Games NZ
Enjoying the hometown advantage Wanaka’s Sadowski Synnott put down a solid run on her first attempt which had her sitting in third place. From there she knew she could improve her score by tidying up her rail section at the top of the course and opting for the high risk double wildcat trick on the last jump. The plan worked and the Kiwi teenager was able to lift her score from 68.58 to 74.76, holding off Japanese rider Reira Iwabuchi who scored a 70.56 on her second run.
“I’m feeling good, I got the run I wanted,” said Sadowski Synnott. “I cleaned up the rail section and got the grabs. Finishing with a medal is definitely the cherry on top.”
Above: Sadowski Synnott competing - photo Iain McGregor, Winter Games NZ
Olympic Champion Jamie Anderson (USA) claimed the top spot on the women’s podium, the third time in a row she has won gold at the Winter Games NZ. She also chose the occasion to land a new competition trick, stomping a cab double 900 on the last jump of her second run with victory already in hand.
The women’s silver medal went to Japanese rider Miyabi Onitsuka who was “so surprised but very happy” after rotating more than planned on her last jump but still getting the landing down clean.
Marcus Kleveland (NOR) won gold in the men’s field, scoring highly on both of his two runs with technical tricks spun in multiple directions.
After crashing heavily on his first run and hurting his ankle Canadian Darcy Sharpe was able to take a “mind over matter” approach to his second run to earn silver.
Above (from left): Miyabi Onitsuka, Jamie Anderson, Zoi Sadowski Synnott
The Winter Games NZ snowboard events are jointly sanctioned by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the World Snowboard Tour (WST). They provide a valuable opportunity for snowboarders from around the world to earn qualifying points for the Olympic Winter Games which will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea in February 2018.