19 Feb 2018

NZ teen launches into Snowboard Big Air final

5:41 pm on 19 February 2018

The New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnot has expressed her delight after reaching the women's big air final at the Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang.

Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Photo: Photosport

Competing at her first Games, the 16-year-old recorded a solid score of 72.25 on her first run down the huge man-made ramp built for the one-trick event on Monday.

But it was her second run where Sadowski-Synnot really impressed the judges, a spectacular switch backside 900 rocketing her to the top of the standings.

The Wanaka athlete eventually finished with the fifth best score, to be one of 12 athletes taking part in Friday's final, and was understandably pleased with her effort.

"I was just really happy to land that because I had never done that before in comp," she told Sky Sport.

"I'm just really stoked that I got a bit of redemption from the slopestyle."

Sadowski-Synnot's qualification for the big air final shows she has plenty of mental strength.

The performance came after she finished a disappointing 13th in last week's slopestyle event.

Sadowski Synnot said her rivals helped inspire her to step up for her other event at this year's Games.

"At all the trainings everyone has just been going really hard, so it caused me to go really hard too.

"After slopestyle I was a bit bummed but you've got to put it in the past because it is in the past now."

Meanwhile, New Zealand freestyle skiers Janina Kuzma and Britt Hawes have missed out on the final of the women's halfpipe event.

Fifth at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Kuzma was battling a knee injury and could only manage the 16th best score after the two qualification runs.

Hawes, in her first Games, finished in 21st.