12 Feb 2019

Sadowski-Synnott in disbelief after claiming gold at World Champs

11:06 am on 12 February 2019

New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott can hardly believe she's won gold in the women's slopestyle at the World Championships in Utah.

Sadowski-Synnott sustained a concussion after hitting her head in her second qualifying run yesterday so was not going to compete in today's final.

The 17-year-old won the title based on her top qualifying run after the final was cancelled due to poor weather.

The Winter Olympics bronze medallist and X Games gold medallist was on the phone to her mum when she received the unexpected news.

"I was literally talking to my mum when I opened the door and one of the New Zealand coaches was standing there telling me 'you're world champion' and I was like woah that's crazy news after the past 24 hours ... my mum was also pretty stoked and couldn't believe it."

Sadowski-Synnott scored 91.75 in the qualifier. Norway's Silje Norendal claimed silver and Jamie Anderson of the USA finished third.

She said it was the best possible outcome considering the circumstances.

"I concussed myself in my second run yesterday so I put my first run down and that's the score that I won with and then second run, I fell and hit my head pretty bad.

"Usually you hold back a bit, well I did at least, because I was actually saving it for my second run and then finals you usually build up. I was real stoked with the run I put down, my first run and then I was hoping to build on my second run but I fell on one of the rails before it."

She said the conditions were pretty dangerous.

"It's pretty windy today and the course even without wind was difficult ... with the wind involved it was really hard to calculate whether or not you'd actually make it over or go way too thick so I think they made the right call of cancelling it today."

The big air event, which she won an Olympic bronze in last year, got cancelled because of the weather.

She said it was hard to rate winning the World Title against her other successes.

"There's been so many great podiums that I've been lucky enough to be on but I competed in World Champs two years ago in Spain and I came second in slopestyle and so this compared to that is just insane because I kind of one-upped myself by winning so that's pretty cool but it's so hard to compare."

Sadowski-Synnott is the first New Zealand snowboarder or skiier to claim a world title.

"I can't even believe it, just sitting here now talking to you, yeah I sat on top of the podium and they played the New Zealand anthem which was amazing."

After her stunning Gold medal at last month's X Games in the same event, the Wanaka based snowboarder is thrilled with her consistency.

"I'm pretty stoked with how I rode yesterday and that I was able to put a run down. It's always nerve wracking coming out of a good result like at the X Games and then coming into the next event with people expecting you to do it again but I try not to let it affect me."

Apart from hard work, she couldn't really explain why she's had so much recent success.

"I really don't know, I was training pretty hard in the New Zealand season 2018, I've just been training and progressing and that helps a lot."

She said competing in two events had helped her.

"They both come hand in hand, like training for big air helps you with slopestyle, and vice versa, it really doesn't matter each comp I do I give it 100 percent."

She said the attention on her had ramped up and she was pleased she was able to soak it up.

"I've become a lot more known to other riders and other coaches and stuff which is pretty scary because everyone is looking at you all the time but at the same time it's exciting."

Her next big event is the US Open in Colorado in two weeks.

"I'm feeling pretty in the zone and confident in my snow boarding in competition so that's good and now it's just time to look forward to the next one."