NZ makes solid start at Winter Youth Olympics

Alpine skier Harrison Messenger competing in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. Photos: NZ Olympics

The New Zealand Team has recorded a win and a credible finish on day one of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The New Zealand curling team overcame first match nerves to beat Slovenia 8-4 at the Champery Curling Arena.

Zoe Harman, Lucy Neilson, Hunter Walker and Will Becker were solid on the ice but admitted they felt the pressure of the occasion.

“It went well, we could have played better but we were a bit nervous so it’s good to get that out of the way and now we can get on with it,” says Lucy.

“We’re going to work on improving our communications next game but there were some good points today as well. We’re always really positive no matter what the score is or how the end is going, we like to laugh around and enjoy ourselves.”

The curlers are back in action today January 11 NZ time, taking on France.

Meanwhile alpine skier Harrison Messenger finished 34th in the men’s Super G.

The 16-year-old flew down the course to record a time of 57.59s.

“I didn’t feel like I was holding the ski through the turn and I definitely lost more time than I would’ve liked but it’s all a learning curve. Even if you’re not fast you always get something out of the race,” says Harrison.

Video interview with Harrison Messenger

The race was held at the stunning Les Diablerets in the Swiss Alps.

“The course is really nice, they made it a bit shorter than usual but that adds a different dynamic and I really enjoyed it.”

Harrison grew up in Auckland where he learned to ski at Snow Planet.

“I loved speed and competition so progressed pretty quickly but this is by far the biggest competition I’ve been to, it’s cool to be surrounded by so many amazing athletes, I’m loving it!”

Harrison competes in Slalom today.

The opening ceremony of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games

Twenty athletes are competing as the New Zealand Team for the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

NZ Team Youth Olympics 2020. Photo: NZ Olmpics.

The team is led by Chef de Mission Jesse Teat, who competed in Alpine Skiing at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Jesse also led the New Zealand Team at the previous edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer 2016.

Almost 2,000 athletes aged 14 to 18 will compete from January 9 – 22, 2020 as part of the Games.
The athletes will compete across Switzerland, and neighbouring France, enabling many regions to be a part of the Olympic spirit.

Eleven New Zealand athletes competed at the previous edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, winning two medals. Four of the athletes went on to be selected for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Winter Youth Olympic Games coverage is available on Sky Sport.

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