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26 Feb 2018 6:24
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Skiing

    Snowboard stars not pressured by NZ hopes

    Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott says she's not feeling pressure to produce a Winter Olympic medal for New Zealand in PyeongChang.

    New Zealand's youthful slopestyle snowboarders aren't feeling the burden of being among the best hopes in PyeongChang of breaking the country's Winter Olympic medal drought.

    Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Tiarn Collins and Carlos Garcia Knight will make their Olympic debuts after they all reached the podium at World Cup events this season.

    The 17-year-old Sadowski-Synnott broke out last year, winning three World Cup medals and a silver at the big air world championships.

    But she's brushed off any external expectations as New Zealand bids for its first Olympic medal since alpine skier Annelise Coberger took silver in Albertville in 1992.

    "I'm just thinking this is just another comp," Sadowski-Synnott told NZ Newswire in PyeongChang on Wednesday.

    "I just want to get my run down and see what happens from there."

    The trio, who will also compete in the big air discipline, trained on the Olympic course for the first time on Wednesday ahead of the start of the men's slopestyle on Saturday.

    Knight, who won bronze at his home World Cup event in September, said the nerves have begun to settle.

    "There's so much to do up there. You've got so many options compared to a normal course," Knight said.

    "It's just on steroids so it's really overwhelming at the start but once you get into the groove of things, it's just like every competition.

    "I don't think there's the pressure of having to go out there and win a medal.

    "It's more excitement of representing New Zealand and doing it for the crew back home. It's a huge opportunity and we don't take that lightly."

    Knight said conditions have been better than expected.

    "Last time we came here (for the 2017 test event), it was all man-made snow and rained on top of it, so it was a pretty sketchy combination," he said.

    "This time, it's a lot of man-made snow but a lot of natural snow has fallen on top of it."


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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