Beijing Winter Olympics: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott creates history with New Zealand's first gold medal, wins women's slopestyle

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has made Kiwi history, winning New Zealand's first Winter Olympics gold medal in the women's slopestyle at Beijing's Genting Snow Park.

The 20-year-old saved her best for last, snatching victory with a near-flawless final run score of 92.88, bettering the 87.68 by American Julia Marino.

Entering Sunday's final as the top qualifier, Sadowski-Synnott was the favourite to take out the women's slopestyle title and jumped straight into gold-medal contention, scoring 84.51 to leapfrog Australian Tess Coady into first place.

But the field's second runs showed Sadowski-Synnott she wouldn't have things her own way, as Marino came away with 87.68 to knock the Kiwi down into silver.

And when she responded with a second run of 28.15, Sadowski-Synnott needed to produce her best display with the last run of the competition to take gold.

Coady secured third place with her final run of 84.15, while Marino couldn't improve on her lead, finishing with 60.35 to leave her rival with a clear picture of what was needed for victory.

Showing composure well beyond her years, Sadowski-Synnott nailed her final attempt to bring home the gold, scoring 92.88 to leapfrog Marino into first place.

"Complete disbelief," she told Sky Sport. "It's an indescribable feeling, but I just knew I had to put it down and I was capable of it.

"It took everything in me to land that last jump.

"Honestly, it's not over until it's over and I was super-lucky to qualify first, so I could drop last. Everyone out there today had a chance at medalling, and you have to be completely and 100 percent on it."

As Sadowski-Synnott finished her run, knowing she had achieved something special, she was mobbed by her rivals, who must have sensed they had just seen the winning run.

"That was a crazy moment and shows how special snowboarding is," she said. "You cheer more when your friends do well than yourself - it's why I love it."

Victory betters Annelise Coberger's silver medal, won at Albertville, France in 1992, and sees Sadowski-Synnott become the first New Zealander to claim two winter Olympic medals, after her big air bronze at Pyeongchang 2018.

"It makes me emotional and super proud," she said.

Among those left in her wake were all three medallists from Pyeongchang 2018, including American Jamie Anderson, two-time defending champion and the world's most-decorated snowboarder over the past decade.

Sadowski-Synnott has a chance for a second medal at Beijing, when she also competes in the big air event on February 14/15.

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