ZB

'As good as it gets': Porteous nails perfect Olympic preview

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Jan 2022, 8:23am
Nico Porteous celebrates with his gold medal. (Photo / Tommy Pyatt Photography)
Nico Porteous celebrates with his gold medal. (Photo / Tommy Pyatt Photography)

'As good as it gets': Porteous nails perfect Olympic preview

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Jan 2022, 8:23am

Nico Porteous nailed the preview - now it's time to do likewise at "the big O-show".

The Kiwi freeskier today confirmed his status as a gold-medal favourite for the Winter Olympics in Beijing, securing back-to-back superpipe victories at the X Games in Aspen.

Porteous stunned the competition with a flawless fourth and final run, unleashing what commentators described as "one of the most technical runs ever" landed in the competition.

The 20-year-old later revealed it was the first time - in competition or training - he had completed that particular run. And now with the Olympics looming, he was determined to replicate both the run and the result in Beijing.

"That's as good as it gets," Porteous told Newstalk ZB's Elliott Smith. "That's my Olympic run. Maybe one or two things that are a real Hail Mary, but that's it.

"I've never done that before in a competition - I've never even done that before in training. It was the first time I've ever done that combo on that run and I guess I couldn't have really made it count much more.

"That's what I've been working on and the Olympics are in two weeks. That was why we came to X Games, for the purpose of training in the final event before the big O-show."

Porteous was quick to stress his performance would offer no guarantees on the halfpipe in Beijing, a competition that begins on February 17.

But completing that sequence of tricks - a sequence Porteous acknowledged would sound like "complete gibberish" to many - did provide an invaluable psychological boost.

"It's given me confidence in my skiing," he said. "I wouldn't say it's given me confidence in a result but confidence in my ability and the fact I've planned this run and can actually do it.

"It was the night of my dreams, to be honest, and I'm really proud of what happened."

That feeling must have been enhanced by the manner in which Porteous claimed victory. The 2018 Olympic bronze medallist was in third place heading into his final run and as, the last skier to compete, knew perfection would reap gold, New Zealand's third in Aspen following Zoi Sadowski-Synnott's double.

"Just hyper-focused," Porteous said of his mindset before the run. "I'm just so focused on the task at hand and in that warzone mentality.

"What goes through my head, it's pretty blank to be honest. There's not really much happening.

"There's maybe tiny voices talking to me in each trick, making sure I'm focusing on the right thing. Other than that, the music's blasting and I'm just letting my body do the work and trusting myself and the preparation I've had."

That preparation saw Porteous consign two-time Olympic gold medalist David Wise to bronze. The Kiwi will now fly to Europe for some final fine-tuning to the run he hopes will produce gold in Beijing, the rare sequel that would exceed even the original.

"I'm still speechless," Porteous said. "Every time I look at the medal and think what happened, I can't believe it."

- Kris Shannon, NZ Herald