Winter Olympics: Carlos Garcia Knight hopeful of adding to New Zealand's medal haul in Snowboard Big Air final

Carlos Garcia Knight is hopeful of adding to New Zealand's two Winter Olympic medals when the 20-year-old competes in the snowboard big air final on Saturday.

The Christchurch youngster qualified first for the final after he produced a stunning switch-back 1620 in the second of his two runs, which wowed the judges to the tune of a 97.5 score.

The big air is Garcia Knight's second event at the Olympics, having also competed in the men's slopestyle final where he finished fifth earlier in the games.

Speaking to Newshub ahead of the final, Garcia Knight says he has learnt lots from competing in the slopestyle event and qualifying in first place has given him a much-needed confidence boost.

"I've learnt a lot for the slopestyle. I was up there on my third run and I really wanted to get up on to the podium and it was playing with me a bit and it was taking away from the moment.

"For big air, I've simplified everything, and yes there is pressure of getting on the podium for me and that is a bonus for me now.

Carlos Garcia Knight.
Carlos Garcia Knight. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I haven't done well in big airs in the past - like, I've done alright, but it has never been my forte, so to come here and do well against the top guys is really amazing for me and it's a huge confidence-booster.

"If I can go out there and do the tricks I want too, and snowboard the way I like too, then the rest is up to the judges and everything else. I'm just going to go and have fun and see what happens." 

One of New Zealand's two medals won at the Pyeongchang Games was from the women's big air final when 16-year-old Zoi Sadowski-Synnott claimed bronze on Thursday.

Watching Sadowski-Synnott succeed makes Garcia Knight even more determined to stand on the podium himself, and having qualified first, it gives him a slight advantage over his other competitors.

"Watching Zoi the other day was so inspiring," he said. "She rode so well and everyone was amazed with her style and her trick selection so it would be nice to back her up with that.

"I drop last in the final which is an advantage but I still have to go do my thing in finals and hopefully do really well.

"I'm super happy I made it through and I get another shot at doing well."

Nico Porteous won New Zealand's other medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics with a third place finish in the men's ski freestyle halfpipe final.