Beijing Winter Olympics: Kiwi freeskier Nico Porteous snatches New Zealand's second gold in halfpipe final

Kiwi freeskier Nico Porteous has secured New Zealand's second-ever Winter Olympics gold medal, with victory in the men's halfpipe final at Beijing.

A bronze medallist in the same event four years ago, the reigning world champion progressed second through qualifying, behind two-time world champ Aaron Blunck, but showed he was the one to beat early, landing a 93.00 performance with his first run of the day.

"I can't believe it," Porteous told Sky Sports afterwards.

"It's been so heavy on my mind for the past three months and I'm lost for words."

With big jumps a key component of halfipipe scoring, big winds made for teacherous conditions in the pipe, throwing several of the 12 finalists off their games. Not so for Nico, 20, whose first-up effort eclipsed the previous best of 90.75 by two-time defending champion David Wise.

One of those most affected was Nico's older brother, Miguel, who was unable to improve his opening score of 63.50 and had to settle for 11th. 

But Miguel was right on hand as the first person to congratulate his brother, when the gold medal was secured.

"I don't think words can really describe that," Nico said of celebrating with his brother.

"It's something me and him will cherish for the rest of our lives.

"Being able to come down and give him a hug at the bottom, having him right by my side - isn't that anyone' dream, to have your family right there next to you in one of your most proud moments?"

Leading into the final round, Nico Porteous had to watch his closest rivals throw everything at him in their last-ditch quest for gold. When Wise could only manage 40.00 on his final attempt, Porteous knew his place on the podium was secure - which colour medal would it be?

When American Birk Irving stalled his last landing, the medal was silver or gold, with Porteous and Blunck to come.

Porteous could not improve, wiping out on his second trick, leaving Blunck, lying seventh, to determine the winner. With all the pressure of the world on his shoulders, Blunck also crashed out on his run and gold belonged to New Zealand, adding to the snowboard slopestyle success of Zoi Sadowski-Synnott two weeks ago.

N Porteous (NZ) 93.00 1, Wise (USA) 90.75 2, Ferriera (USA) 86.75 3... M Porteous (NZ) 63.50 11