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19 Mar 2018 6:26
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  •   Home > News > Sports > General

    We need a medal in PyeongChang: NZ skier

    Freestyle skier Janina Kuzma is feeling the pressure and says a New Zealand athlete needs to win a medal at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

    As the best-performing New Zealander from Sochi 2014 contesting the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Janina Kuzma is feeling the pressure to win a medal.

    But the halfpipe freeskier doesn't believe she should be alone in carrying the burden of ending the country's 26-year medal drought.

    Kuzma was in the bronze medal position four years ago before falling to fifth.

    It was a similar narrative for snowboarder Carlos Garcia Knight and speed skater Peter Michael's top-five finishes for New Zealand in PyeongChang.

    Chef de mission Peter Wardell this week emphasised that the country is not in South Korea to make up the numbers and the 32-year-old Kuzma has urged her teammates to draw a line in the snow.

    "I think there's a lot of pressure on the whole team, not just myself," she said.

    "I think everyone's feeling the pressure.

    "We know that we need medals. Someone needs to medal at these Games.

    "That's on everyone's shoulders."

    Kuzma appears up against it to become the first Kiwi Winter Olympic medallist since alpine skier Annelise Coberger in 1992.

    Soon after claiming an encouraging 10th at a World Cup event in the US in mid-December, the world No.27 suffered a knee injury.

    She stopped short of touting herself as being in a better position than 2014.

    "I'd like to say yes, coming fifth at the last Olympics you always want to do better," she said.

    "I'm just coming back. But everything's going really smoothly. Training's been great in Calgary.

    "The top 12, really anyone can take it. It just comes down to the day and who's performing and firing."

    Kuzma will begin her qualification campaign alongside compatriot Britt Hawes on Monday.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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