Winter Olympics: Ex-Perth student Nico Porteous wins second gold medal for New Zealand

Pat GrahamAP
Gold medallist Nico Porteous sits on brother Miguel's shoulders after his Olympic triumph.
Camera IconGold medallist Nico Porteous sits on brother Miguel's shoulders after his Olympic triumph. Credit: EPA

New Zealand is enjoying a winter gold rush at the Beijing Olympics, with Nico Porteous winning the ski halfpipe event.

After snowboard slopestyler Zoi Sadowski-Synnott won NZ’s first Winter Olympics gold medal early in the Games, Porteous doubled their haul on the second-last day of competition.

It means New Zealand will finish above Australia on the Beijing medal tally.

The Kiwis are now 16th with two gold and a silver, two spots above Australia’s one gold, two silver and one bronze.

Before Beijing, NZ had competed at 16 Winter Olympics for a silver and two bronze medals.

Porteous, a former student at Perth’s Christ Church Grammar, overcame swirling wind to win on a day when many skiers struggled to land their best tricks due to the conditions.

He scored a 93 in his opening run on a bitterly cold Saturday in the last event at the Genting Snow Park. He was blown off course on another run and landed hard on his shoulder.

Two-time Olympic champion David Wise of the United States won silver with his first-run score of 90.75.

The 31-year-old Wise won the event at its Olympic debut in 2014 and again four years ago.

His teammate Alex Ferreira threw down a strong first run, twirling his right ski pole at the bottom in elation, to end up with the bronze.

The podium was the same as at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, just in a different order. Back then, it went Wise, Ferreira and Porteous.

The last competitor on the program, American Aaron Blunck, crashed his head and shoulder into the wall of the halfpipe while trying to land a trick in the gusty conditions.

Wise ran up the halfpipe in his ski boots to check on his teammate. Blunck, the top qualifier, eventually sat up and made his way down.

Blunck finished seventh out of the 12 finalists.

Porteous’ older brother Miguel, who had Nico sitting on his shoulders as they celebrated the gold medal, finished 11th.

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