Beijing 2022 Olympic profile: Nico Porteous

Source: 1News

Wanaka freeskier Nico Porteous enters the Beijing Olympics as arguably New Zealand's most likely gold medal candidate, but will need to be at his very best if he is to make history.

Nico Porteous after winning the halfpipe competition in Mammoth, USA in January.

Quick facts:

Name: Nico Porteous

Hometown: Wanaka

Age at Games: 20

Olympic history: Bronze in freeski halfpipe at Pyeongchang 2018

Four years ago, a baby-faced 16-year-old Porteous became just the third New Zealander to medal at the Winter Olympics, flipping his way to a bronze medal in the freeski halfpipe at Pyeongchang.

His final run saw him jump to the gold medal position [although was later bumped to third] with an amazing score of 94.8 out of 100.

"How?" a stunned Porteous said as he stood at the bottom of the pipe, struggling to comprehend the magnitude of his performance.

How indeed.

It later emerged he had been wearing a large leg brace due to an injured left knee, while he had been so nervous he vomited before his final run.

But that was then and this is now.

While that performance could be considered freakish, Porteous has refined his skiing and developed into one of the world's best in the halfpipe.

Now 20, he is the reigning world and X Games champion and hasn't missed the podium of a World Cup event since 2019.

He has the talent but he knows he will need to be on the top of his game if he is to stand atop the podium in Beijing.

Gold and silver medallists in Pyeongchang David Wise and Alex Ferreira are back, while there are X Games and World Championship medallists scattered across the field.

Beijing schedule:

February 17 5.30pm: Freeski halfpipe qualification

February 19 2.30pm: Freeski halfpipe final