Halberg Awards: Teenage Olympic bronze medallist Nico Porteous opens up on mental demons

It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Kiwi teenager Nico Porteous.

Winning Olympic bronze in the halfpipe in Pyeongchang, Porteous was nominated for Sportsman of the Year at Thursday night's Halberg Awards.

But Porteous has opened up to Newshub about the mental challenges he has faced to be one of the best young athletes on the planet.

Speaking to Newshub before the ceremony, the 17-year-old admitted it hasn't been an easy road to success despite his chilled out persona.

Porteous told Ollie Ritchie he constantly battles anxiety when competing at the elite level.

"I get really stressed about being nervous," he said. I stress myself out over being stressed out, I know that sounds weird but it puts me in a really uncomfortable spot."

To help, Porteous has been seeing a sports psychologist for five years.

But it's hard to believe he was struggling mentally moments before his bronze medal run in South Korea last year.

Nico Porteous at the Halberg Awards in Auckland.
Nico Porteous at the Halberg Awards in Auckland. Photo credit: Photosport

But it happened again last week. Porteous' mind wandered again during his silver medal run at the latest World cup event.

"I had a panic attack at the top," he said. My mind was just for some reason having a brain fart and I was asking myself why? Why are you doing this to me now?

But less than a minute later Porteous was a picture of belief after one of the best runs of his life. A run that was driven by adrenaline given he was crippled by fear and nerves.

"I'm just so scared of what I am doing," he told Newshub.

"It's like my minds playing tricks on me and telling me not to do something but my body wants to do it."

Porteous is doing his best to meet his challenges head-on and not lose sight of the bigger picture.

"I'm already planning my tricks for four years' time and working towards my goals."