If you haven’t heard by now, Australia won it’s first medal of the Beijing Winter Olympics today as Tess Coady took bronze in Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle.

But it was far from a sure thing for Coady after spending the previous night icing a foot injury.  The 21-year-old claimed Australia’s first medal this afternoon in an event won by her close friend Zoi Sadowski Synnott, who became the first New Zealander to top the podium at a Winter Games. Sadowski Synnott also became New Zealand’s most successful Winter Olympian in with bronze in PyeongChang and now gold.

Coady and American silver medallist Julia Marino spontaneously piled on top of the Sydney-born Sadowski Synnott after she finished her spectacular final run which earned the Kiwi a stunning 92.88 points.

Julia Marino (rear) of the USA, Tess Coady (top) of Australia and Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand (bottom) congratulate each other during the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final at the Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, Beijing municipality, China, 06 February 2022. EPA/Diego Azubel

Coady recorded her best score of 84.15 in the third and final run of the final, while Marino’s best run scored 87.68.

The medal was was especially sweet for Coady who tore her ACL in a practice run at the PyeongChang games four years ago, crushing her plans for an Olympic debut.

NZ Sadowski-Synott GOLD, AUS Coady bronze snowboard slopestyle!

She said she felt a “massive weight” had lifted from her shoulders after getting through the starting gate on Saturday, allowing her to ride with freedon when the medals were up for grabs.

“I was chatting to a friend last night and he said to me that I have earnt my freedom from the last Olympics – getting redemption yesterday, getting the start,” Coady said.

“I was coming in today with the massive weight of the last four years off my shoulders.”
Coady said she was “smoked” in a fall off a jump during practice in China, straining a ligament in the side of her foot.

While it was painful, it was never going to stop her competing.

“I spent the whole night icing my foot, trying to get it all good,” the Victorian said.

“If you can ride you can suck it up … with so much adrenalin when you come down you don’t feel anything.”

Tess Coady of Australia competes in the Women’s Slopestyle Finals during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, Sunday, February 6, 2022. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Coady was fifth in the 12-rider field to start, meaning she had a nervous wait to see if she had secured a medal.

“I was stressing – I didn’t think it was going to hold as I knew the riders coming down were so so talented and I for sure thought they were going to land,” she said.

“I was just telling myself that I was really proud of my riding and I did what I came to do which is land a run I was stoked on and if I ended up fourth or fifth that’s how it ends up some days.

“That was the finals we’ve been deserving for the last 8 years,” said Cody about the standard of riding in today’s event.

“[women’s] snowboarding has come so far, so disappointing at the last games we didn’t get to showcase that. It was sick for the girls that landed the runs but they would have wanted to do so much more on that day.”

Slopestyle riders in PyeongChang had to contend with savage winds that impacted the tricks that could be done in competition.

Tess Coady of Australia competes in the Women’s Slopestyle Finals during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, Sunday, February 6, 2022. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

“The 9s, 10s, the rail riding, all showing how far women have come in this sport, it’s always tough, women in sport, and all the girls are so proud of how much we push each other, doing tricks that the boys are doing, and it was so sick to show that to the world,” revealed Coady.

“Zoi has done incredible things for womens snowboarding, she always gets me fired up to go harder, I love watching her ride.”

“It’s an honour to be in the finals and everyone was feeling that, even those that didn’t land and that was tough for some people, Anna could have done an insane run, Kokoma as well. Everyone’s grateful to be out here, people will be wanting redemption at Big Air.”

(L-R) Silver medalist Julia Marino of the United States, Gold medalist Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand and Bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia pose for photographs after the Women’s Slopestyle Final during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, Sunday, February 6, 2022. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

She was embraced after winning bronze by Australian teammate Scotty James, who won an Olympic halfpipe bronze medal in 2018 and is favourite for gold in Beijing.

“Scotty was like, ‘Just soak this up, it’s so great,” Coady said.

“He said he’s super proud of me and it means so much because Scotty is such a legend.

“He’s inspired me so much with my snowboarding and also with the rehab of my knee.”

Coady has a chance at a second medal, lining up in the big air competition with the qualifying round on February 14.

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