As one of New Zealand’s leading medal hopefuls at this year’s games, all eyes were on Nico Porteous last week as he put on an epic performance at a competition in Aspen.
This near-flawless performance was Porteous’ second major competition win in the space of only a few weeks. Having secured this latest win, pressure and expectations are mounting at this year’s Winter Games.
While you might normally not be too far wrong in thinking that this is quite an amount of pressure for a 20-year-old athlete to shoulder, Porteous is by no means an ‘ordinary’ athlete. Far from crumbling under the pressure of high-stakes athletic events where one wrong move can sink an entire performance, Porteous has proved himself quite capable of withstanding the pressures of professional competitions.
This quality was certainly on display at the final of last week’s XGames in Aspen, where Porteous delivered an incredible final run which secured the Freeski halfpipe virtuoso a gold medal. This came off the back of another epic win at the US Grand Prix held in Mammoth Mountain.
Despite only being 20 years old, Porteous is no stranger to the Winter Games, having competed in PyeongChang in 2018, where he secured a bronze medal.
Now four years older — having competed in 2018 as a 16-year-old — Porteous has genuinely turned into a consummate professional. In the pre-games press circuit he has been taking part in, there is a real sense that he has matured as both an athlete and an adult.
This added maturity in both mindset and technical skill look set to be just the boost Porteous needs to help him climb up the medal rankings in this year’s Winter Olympics. If his last two performances are even a slight indication of what this talented young Winter Olympian is capable of, it won’t be too long until he is crowned an Olympic champion.