Olympic medallists dine out on homecoming
Olympic medallist Nico Porteous didn’t have to wait long for his wish to be granted once back in New Zealand yesterday.
After arriving at Auckland Airport and being greeted with a haka, with the rest of the New Zealand team, including fellow bronze medallist, Zoi SadowskiSynnott, Porteous told the large throng of assembled media that one of the first things he wanted to do was have a pie.
‘‘I’m going to have a steak and pepper pie,’’ Porteous beamed, with the large medal dangling from his neck.
‘‘I haven’t had a pie in at least a month, so I’m pretty desperate.’’
Within a couple of minutes of saying that, someone had brought him one and he wasted no time in getting stuck in.
Getting free pies may be something out of the ordinary but, for the next while at least, the pair of 16 year olds are going to have to get used to being in the spotlight as the country celebrates its first success at the Winter Olympics in 26 years.
Porteous, who won his medal in the half pipe, said it still hadn’t sunk in that he’s an Olympic medallist.
‘‘It’s not going to sink in for at least a month, but I’m going to keep being myself and continue to work hard, just keep skiing,’’ Porteous said.
"When I was 10 we had this thing at school where you had to write everything about you and mine had on it Olympics rings and a snowboard." Zoi Sadowski-Synnott
‘‘I’m a bit confused over which time zone I’m in now, I only had about an hour of sleep on the plane.’’
Porteous plans to head to Europe soon for some social skiing, but Sadowski-Synnott says she’s looking to get back to school in Wanaka.
And it was at school six years ago where Sadowski-Synnott, who won her medal in the big air, made a statement that Olympic glory was her goal.
‘‘I have always wanted to compete at the Olympics,’’ she said.
‘‘When I was 10 we had this thing at school where you had to write everything about you and mine had on it Olympics rings and a snowboard.
‘‘So it’s always been there, but I didn’t expect it to be at the 2018 Olympics.’’
Sadowski-Synnott and Porteous may compete in different events, but they will always be linked by their success in PyeongChang and Porteous admits there will be a bond between them.
‘‘We’ll always look back at the day we walked back into Auckland Airport, both with New Zealand flags around our shoulders and medals around our necks,’’ he said.
‘‘This will be a day that will stay with us for a long time.’’
Porteous wants to compete in five Winter Olympic Games and time is on his side to achieve that.
Sadowski-Synnott says she’s also looking forward to the next Games already.
‘‘I hope that in four years I’ll be in Beijing,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m going to keep riding, I finish school this year, which will be good, because then I can solely focus on snowboarding.
‘‘Hopefully I’ll get an invite to the X Games, but I don’t know yet, because that’s the other dream.’’
There will be the chance to see Sadowski-Synnott and Porteous in New Zealand in August when they both compete at the free ski and snowboard junior world championships, which will be a part of the Winter Games.
‘‘It’s the best to compete at home,’’ Sadowski-Synnott said.
‘‘I’m really glad that we have this World Cup and chance to see what we can do at home, because they don’t usually get the chance to see it, except for at the Olympics.’’
Nico Porteous and Zoi SadowskiSynnott are the centre of attention after touching down at Auckland Airport yesterday.