Government invests over $20 million in snow sports after success at Winter Olympics

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The government has made a huge investment by pumping over $20 million into winter sports following the success of New Zealand teams at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and freeskier Nico Porteous won the country’s first Winter Olympic gold medals after 70 years with their respective victories in women’s slopestyle and men’s halfpipe in China in February.

Sadowski-Synnott’s money in the big air added to New Zealand’s most successful Winter Olympics campaign.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott with his gold and silver medals at the Beijing Winter Olympics and: Nico Porteous with his gold.

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Zoi Sadowski-Synnott with his gold and silver medals at the Beijing Winter Olympics and: Nico Porteous with his gold.

There were also medals for the New Zealand Paralympic team, as alpine skiers Corey Peters won gold (downhill) and silver (super-G) and Adam Hall collected two bronze medals in super combined and in slalom.

Sports Minister Grant Robertson on Thursday announced the government’s pledge of funding for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Milan in 2026.

“New Zealand’s unprecedented success at the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games earlier this year reflects the multitude of young talent emerging in winter sports,” Robertson said in a statement.

Ruby Andrews won the freeski slopestyle title at the World Junior Championships in March.

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Ruby Andrews won the freeski slopestyle title at the World Junior Championships in March.

“This investment will support high performance winter sports campaigns, build on the development of athlete and coach pathways and wellness initiatives, and help provide facilities for our top athletes and winter sports para-athletes to regularly compete at the highest level.”

After Beijing, a host of young Kiwis collected medals at the junior world championships in March in Leysin, Switzerland, such as Ruby Andrews (gold in freeski slopestyle), Gustav Legnavsky (gold in freeski halfpipe), Cam Melville Ives (silver in snowboard slopestyle) and Luca Harrington (silver in big air freeskiing).

The government’s additional investment includes new funding for sports such as freeride, biathlon and luge, among a $1.6 million annual increase for Snow Sports New Zealand, with an additional $66,000 for ice skating. ice speed.

In March, skier Jess Hotter became the first New Zealander to win the Freeride World Tour title.

In Beijing, the much-loved Campbell Wright became New Zealand’s second biathlete at the Winter Olympics and competes on the World Cup circuit.

A total of $14.3 million will go to national sports organizations for athlete and coach development ahead of Milan.

A further $3 million will be allocated to athlete pathway support programs and a further $3 million will support High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) performance services such as medicine, performance nutrition and performance analysis. performance and technique.

Snow Sports NZ chief executive Nic Cavanagh said the increase in funding was fantastic as New Zealand teams are aiming for more medals in Milan.

Campbell Wright represented New Zealand in biathlon at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

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Campbell Wright represented New Zealand in biathlon at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“I am incredibly proud of our team for the results they have achieved over the past four years and the way the athletes have performed on the tracks around the world,” he said in a statement.

Before Beijing, Sadowski-Synnott and Porteous had ended New Zealand’s 26-year wait for another Olympic medal.

After alpine skier Annelise Coberger won the first silver medal in 1992, the Wānaka duo won bronze medals aged 16 at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Meanwhile, there will also be more investment in wellbeing in their programs and for all staff, Snow Sports NZ said.

Snowboarder Cam Melville Ives won a silver medal in men's slopestyle at the world junior championships.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

Snowboarder Cam Melville Ives won a silver medal in men’s slopestyle at the world junior championships.

“A key to achieving results over the next four years is balancing the rigors and demands of being a top athlete with the intrinsic joy they derive from living and performing in the mountains,” said Cavanagh.

“HPSNZ partners with Snow Sports NZ to provide balance by investing in wellness initiatives.”

An additional $390,000 will go to the Cardrona Alpine Resort Dry Track Training Center.

Snow Sports NZ said it will also include a special project for the landing bag which athletes use to practice tricks safely, so it can be lowered from the snow line for use throughout the course. ‘year.

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