Skateboarding on a ski ramp in her backyard might have just been a bit of fun at the time, but it was the start of something special for Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

The 16-year-old Olympic bronze medallist told D'Arcy Waldegrave on Newstalk ZB that having a ramp in the backyard was a great help on her path to Olympic success.

"My parents got a ski ramp for my brother for his birthday and we got to skate on it. I think that really helped with my snowboarding. I first started out skateboarding and started snowboarding after that.

"My parents worked really hard to support me do all this through getting on the team and funding for everything and all their love and all that. It's been really good and they've been really supportive."


Sadowski-Synnott broke New Zealand's 26-year Winter Olympics medal drought on Thursday when she claimed third in the women's big air snowboarding competition.

"It hasn't really hit yet, it's all pretty surreal. I was just really happy to be snowboarding and to put down those first two jumps and get rewarded for it and do something that I'm stoked on."

Sadowski-Synnott put herself firmly into the medal picture on her second run, laying down a massive switch backside 900 to score a 92.

Pairing that with the 65.50 she scored in her first run with a double wildcat, she had a strong chance to claim a medal.

With a quality score in place, she went big on her final run and attempted a frontside 1080 - a trick she had never landed before.

She still hasn't landed it.

"It was a bit of a Hail Mary," she admitted.

"We planned everything out last night - what each run was going to be…it all went to plan except that last run."


Doing enough to claim bronze, she became the youngest Kiwi to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games, surpassing the mark set by Danyon Loader in 1992.

However, she was bumped to the second-youngest just hours later when Nico Porteous won bronze in the men's freeski halfpipe competition.

Sadowski-Synnott's coach Mitch Brown called the teens' triumph "an exceptional day for New Zealand".

"I'm absolutely rapt with how everything's gone. Two bronze medals for the country of New Zealand, hell yeah!

"It's so cool for snowboarding to get some recognition like it has in New Zealand. And now that we've got a bronze medal at the Olympics, hopefully, it gets a lot of younger people and anyone really up the mountain and into snowboarding.

"She [Sadowski-Synnott] likes going big that girl and it's hard to get her to slow down sometimes. It is big air, she definitely got some big air but she had to let go of her grab

"She's definitely a student of the shred."

After a few days rest, Sadowski-Synnott will be going to Colorado to train for the US Open.

"Not too sure if she's coming back right away for anything. The plan was to head back to Colorado for the US Open, then after the US Open that will be when our season finishes up and we will be coming back to New Zealand to have a bit of downtime, relax and enjoy it all."

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