Get to know New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott

The big air and slopestyle specialist heads to Beijing 2022 as an Olympic bronze medalist in the former and world champion in the latter with plans to replicate her world standing on the Olympic podium come February. Here are four things you should know.

By Ockert de Villiers
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The 20-year-old Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is one of the hottest properties in women’s snowboard and will be vying to become New Zealand’s first Olympic champion at the Winter Games in Beijing 2022.

The Australia-born Kiwi snowboarder, who specialises in big air and slopestyle, will be looking to upgrade the bronze medal she won in the big air event at PyeongChang 2018.

Sadowski-Synnott has been on an upwards trajectory since she announced herself on the global stage after claiming silver at the women’s slopestyle event in Spain at the 2017 World Championship having turned 16 on the first day of the competition. She has since established herself as one of the pre-eminent female snowboarders and a pioneer of New Zealand snow sports winning the triple crown in 2019.

Bag of tricks

Highlighting her stellar rise she won bronze at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games just a year later.

Boasting a bag of freestyle tricks, Sadowski-Synnot won her maiden Olympic medal in style, landing a double wildcat – a double backflip on a cartwheel axis – to launch her onto the podium in the big air finals four years ago.

“After that, it was non-stop celebrating. It’s a good place to celebrate. Big air was at the end of the Olympics,” Sadowski-Synnott told

“There were only a few events left to go, so most of the people were celebrating and just enjoying themselves. It was all a blur.”

Game recognises game

Sadowski-Synnott’s bronze-medal win in the Republic of Korea catapulted her into the stratosphere and New Zealand’s collective consciousness. She earned high praise both home and abroad after breaking her country’s 26-year medal drought at the cold-weather showpiece.

In a game-recognises-game scenario, Sadowski-Synnott received a congratulatory Tweet from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“I didn’t have a Twitter account to reply or anything,” Sadowski-Synnott said. “She (Ardern) is a real inspiration, a New Zealander who is doing so well, leading the country, a female on the world stage, showing everyone how New Zealanders do it. It was really cool.”

Triple crown

Sadowski-Synnott’s star continued to rise after PyeongChang 2018, becoming one of the forces on the international snowboard circuit.

She demonstrated her pedigree in 2019, claiming the snowboard triple crown – gold at the Winter X Games, World Championship and the US Open – in slopestyle. She also won silver in big air at the Winter X Games, which took place in Aspen, Colorado that year.

In 2020, events were a write-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but earlier this year, Sadowski-Synnott sounded a warning to her competitors ahead of Beijing 2022 on becoming the first person to defend a slopestyle World Championship title. She backed that up with a silver in big air in her medal hotspot, Aspen.

No one-trick pony

Sadowski-Synnott’s abilities and talents go beyond the snow park. She is equally adept on the skateboard, often showing off tricks in the bowl on her Instagram feed.

While her page is riddled with awesome snowboard content, she treats her fans with the odd post of her executing tricks at the skate park in her home town of Wanaka.

Her tricks are not limited to boards, and she can be seen doing flips on the trampoline as part of her training. The Kiwi's whole life revolves around flips and tricks and she'll be hoping to land right way up on the podium come February when the Games begin.


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