Nine cho­sen for Win­ter Olympics team

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS - STAFF RE­PORTER

‘‘Th­ese ath­letes . . . re­quire in­cred­i­ble phys­i­cal and men­tal strength and they have un­doubt­edly earned the right to wear the fern at the Olympic Win­ter Games.’’

Nine ath­letes were named yes­ter­day for New Zealand’s team to com­pete at the PyeongChang Win­ter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.

The team is even­tu­ally ex­pected to in­clude up to 20 ath­letes and thus far is stacked with teenagers.

It in­cludes the Por­te­ous broth­ers Nico, 15, and Miguel, 18, (freeski half­pipe), 2016 Youth Olympian freeskier bronze and sil­ver medal­list Finn Bilous, 18, and world cup win­ning snow­board slopestyler Zoi Sad­owski Syn­not, 16, all of Wanaka.

Queenstown’s Tiarn Collins, 17, (snow­board slopestyle and big air) and Colorado-based Kiwi Rakai Tait, 18, (snow­board half­pipe) round out the youth­ful con­tin­gent.

Wanaka’s Jan­ina Kuzma, 32, is the se­nior stateswoman of the team and re­turns for her sec­ond Win­ter Olympic Games, hav­ing fin­ished fifth in the women’s freeski half­pipe at Sochi 2014.

Also named were snow­board slopestyler and Win­ter Games bronze medal­list Car­los Gar­cia Knight, 20, and 2017 World Cham­pi­onship ski cross sil­ver medal­list Jamie Preb­ble, 26, both of Christchurch.

The ath­letes met both the Snow Sports NZ nom­i­na­tion cri­te­ria and the New Zealand Olympic Com­mit­tee’s tough selec­tion stan­dards early in the sea­son.

Se­lec­tions are sub­ject to of­fi­cial al­lo­ca­tion of In­ter­na­tional Ski Fed­er­a­tion (FIS) quota spots.

An­other group of ath­letes, in­clud­ing Wanaka’s free­sk­ing Wells broth­ers, are still work­ing to­wards nom­i­na­tion and selec­tion and head off soon for North­ern Hemi­sphere com­pe­ti­tion.

The sec­ond tranche of an­nounce­ments is ex­pected early next year and is ex­pected to in­clude more freeskiers and snow­board­ers, as well as ath­letes track­ing well in speed­skat­ing, skele­ton and alpine ski dis­ci­plines.

NZOC chief ex­ec­u­tive Kereyn Smith said the ini­tial selec­tion demon­strated the depth of tal­ent in New Zealand snow sports.

HAN­NAH PETERS

Miguel Por­te­ous and Nico Por­te­ous.

HAN­NAH PETERS

Jan­ina Kuzma

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