Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous

Twenty-six years of waiting for another Kiwi to win a Winter Olympic medal and then two come along in two hours.

For so long, Annelise Coberger stood alone on the dais in New Zealand sporting history following her silver medal in 1992 at Albertville. But a couple of teens joined her in February - Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous.

Sadowski-Synnott broke the drought with bronze in the inaugural women's Big Air event, followed soon after by Porteous, who also collected third in the men's halfpipe freeski.

And the fact both were 16 made it even more remarkable. The duo can't drink anything harder than Red Bull, and even crazier, when they cruised up to Cardrona this winter, they were still eligible for child rates on their lift passes.

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Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous won New Zealand's second and third Winter Olympic medals, 26 years after the first. Photo / Getty Images
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous won New Zealand's second and third Winter Olympic medals, 26 years after the first. Photo / Getty Images

Along with the two bronze medals, the New Zealand team also had three fourth placings and a fifth - totalling an impressive six top-five finishes, four more than at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Eight years ago in Vancouver, not one Kiwi finished in the top 10.

Under-17 women's football side

"We will never have that quality to compete with Japan and even be better than Japan."

Those were the words of former Football Ferns coach and technical director Andreas Heraf in June following a 3-1 defeat to Japan in Wellington, intimating that New Zealand was too small to compete with bigger nations at football.

A few months later, Heraf had resigned and chief executive Andy Martin had 'retired' and the under-17 women's side booked a spot in the World Cup semifinals by beating - guess who? - Japan in a penalty shootout.

After a year to forget off the pitch for New Zealand Football, the Leon Bernie-coached side completed a near dream run to win bronze at the Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay.

The New Zealand team celebrate after their penalty shootout win over Japan at the quarter-finals of the Fifa Under-17 Women's World Cup. Photo / AP
The New Zealand team celebrate after their penalty shootout win over Japan at the quarter-finals of the Fifa Under-17 Women's World Cup. Photo / AP

First, they booked a spot in the second round with a game in hand after opening pool play with a 1-0 win over Finland before beating the hosts 2-1. Then they won their quarter-final against Japan on penalties before losing to European champions and eventual World Cup winners Spain in the semifinals. The first New Zealand national side to reach that stage, they finished with a 2-1 win over Canada to claim third.

Tim and Jonelle Price

They certainly take honours for New Zealand sporting couple of the year. Jonelle won back-to-back four-star equestrian crowns at Badminton and Luhmuhlen in Germany in May and June before Tim rode Ringwood Sky Boy to victory at Burghley.

Jonelle made history when she became the first New Zealand woman to win the Badminton title with her horse Classic Moet. She also became the first female to win the title in 11 years and then backed it up a month later aboard Faerie Dianimo to claim the Luhmuhlen.

Tim and Jonelle Price won three four-star equestrian events between them in 2018. Photo / Libby Law
Tim and Jonelle Price won three four-star equestrian events between them in 2018. Photo / Libby Law

Tim, a former winner at Luhmuhlen, got in on the act for his second career four-star victory with a win at Burghley.

Black Ferns Sevens

Australia's bid to dominate the sevens scene was short lived, with the Black Ferns sweeping all before them as their golden year gathered pace.

The Aussies started fast on the world circuit and did enough to cling on to the World Series title. But under coach Allan Bunting, and with try-scoring freak Portia Woodman and World Player of the Year Michaela Blyde shining brightly, the Black Ferns became unstoppable.

The Black Ferns Sevens side won the World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles and finished the year unbeaten in 39 matches. Photo / World Rugby
The Black Ferns Sevens side won the World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles and finished the year unbeaten in 39 matches. Photo / World Rugby

Kelly Brazier, captain Sarah Goss and Co also turned on some wonderful rugby, as they won the Commonwealth Games and World Cup titles.

At the World Cup in San Francisco, finalists France failed to score against them, as did two of their three other opponents. The Sevens Sisters finished the year unbeaten in their last 39 matches, and lost just once in 2018.

They have stylishly built the sort of intimidating aura which has served the All Blacks so well. Absolutely sensational.

Scott Dixon

Dixon inched closer to being considered the greatest IndyCar driver of all time, if he isn't regarded as that already. He secured his fifth IndyCar title in 2018 to be second on the all-time list behind AJ Foyt's seven - and has the best record of any driver in the past 40 years.

Scott Dixon won his fifth IndyCar title this year, second only behind AJ Foyt s seven. Photo / Photosport
Scott Dixon won his fifth IndyCar title this year, second only behind AJ Foyt s seven. Photo / Photosport

The 38-year-old had three victories during the season to edge out Alexander Rossi in the standings following a measured final race of the season where Dixon finished second to deny the American from chasing him down in the standings.

Dixon has now amassed 43 IndyCar victories and 102 podiums. Next up for Dixon is chasing AJ Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) on the all-time win list.

"He's not just a normal run-of-the-mill driver ... he's the driver that if you were to take a stone and inject some brains into it, you'd chisel out Scott Dixon," his boss Chip Ganassi said this year.

Joseph Parker

A classic glass half empty or full situation. On one hand, Parker flopped against giant Brit Anthony Joshua in their heavyweight unification bout. Parker almost froze on the big stage, couldn't go to the dark places as he had promised before the fight.

But there are also a lot of yets. Just getting a title shot against the best heavyweight on the planet, in front of nearly 80,000 people in Cardiff and millions around the world is an achievement and experience in itself. Parker went the distance, unlike Joshua's other opponents.

Joseph Parker lost to Anthony Joshua but the fight between the unbeaten world champion boxers was a huge occasion. Photo / Dean Purcell
Joseph Parker lost to Anthony Joshua but the fight between the unbeaten world champion boxers was a huge occasion. Photo / Dean Purcell

It was his subsequent defeat to Dillian Whyte - when the South Aucklander rallied too late - which put his career on the skids.

In time, Parker's Cardiff showdown against Joshua will be remembered as an amazing Kiwi sports occasion.