IMAGE: Tess Coady secured Australia’s first podium finish of the Beijing Winter Olympics.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
Tess Coady has claimed Australia’s first medal of the Beijing Winter Olympics, winning bronze in the women’s slopestyle snowboarding.
Coady scored a brilliant 82.68 on her first run and held third spot heading into the final round, where she consolidated with an 84.15 that secured the bronze medal.
New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott claimed gold with a score of 92.88, making her the nation’s first Winter Olympic gold medallist.
The USA’s Julia Marino won silver with 87.68.
The result is a triumph for Coady who tore her ACL while training for the same event four years ago in Pyeongchang.
“That was wild and so insane. I’m dying. That was so insane,” an excited Coady told the Seven Network.
“I came back, I got my redemption yesterday and today I wanted to have the best time, enjoy it the most, and just send it.”
Coady said the disappointment she experienced four years ago when she was injured pushed her through to the Beijing Games.
“It’s pretty easy to get to this big stage and think you’re a rock star and that kind of happened,” she said.
“I just became complacent and stopped working hard, and that was totally the kick up the arse that I needed to just get to work, and in that whole year I saw everyone getting better than me.
“When I got back on the snow, like, there were no excuses for me.”
Coady had advanced to the final after qualifying in eighth position with a score of 71.13.
The 21-year-old had arrived at the Winter Olympics as one of Australia’s medal favourites.
She claimed bronze at last year’s world championships in Aspen.
Sadowski-Synnott showed cool nerves in the final, stomping down a pressure-packed run on her last trip down the mountain.
The 20-year-old was one of the very few to have a clean run on the supersized course, where hard-packed snow and cold wind chills made it difficult for all 12 finalists, including two-time defending champion Jamie Anderson, who finished ninth.
Sadowski-Synnott went into her last of three runs trailing Marino but came up big.
She landed a double-cork 1080 on the second jump, and while not repeating that jump the way she did when she won the Winter X Games last month, her backside 1080 off the final kicker was more than enough.
Sadowski-Synnott raised her hands in the air after landing, knowing what she had done.
“Zoi is one of my best mates. I am so incredibly hyped for her. She deserved that win,” Coady said.