NZ Team wins first ever gold medal at Winter Youth Olympic Games
The New Zealand Team has claimed it’s first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games gold medal, with Katya Blong’s ice hockey team winning the 3x3 tournament.
The 14-year-old from Auckland combined with her mixed nation team for a dominant performance in the final, defeating their opposition 6-1.
“Oh man I was so happy I almost cried. It’s pretty crazy, I never thought we’d win but we did and it was so sick,” said Blong.
“I train everyday on the ice and off the ice, all for moments like this.”
It was New Zealand’s second medal on the ice today, with 14-year-old Axel Ruski-Jones from Dunedin earlier claiming bronze in dramatic fashion.
Ruski-Jones’ team scored with three seconds on the clock to break a 5-all deadlock.
“It was a really tight game. The buzzer was going off as we scored and we all went crazy after that, we jumped over the boards and all just piled on top of each other,” said Ruski-Jones.
The ice hockey athletes are playing in the mixed nation tournament being run at Lausanne 2020.
The unique format sees eight teams made up of 13 athletes from 13 different countries. This means teammates have never played with each other before and often don’t even speak the same language.
The 3x3 games are fast paced with 3x players from each team allowed on the ice for just one minute before being required to sub off. The games last for three rounds of 16 minutes.
“It’s really great, you get to meet people from all around the world, see their skills and pick up new things,” said Blong.
Tallulah Bryant from Queenstown was also in action with her team defeated in its bronze medal match.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Curling Team had a win and a loss to book a spot in the bronze medal match.
Zoe Harman, Lucy Neilson, Hunter Walker and Will Becker (all from Maniototo) beat Germany in 7-4 in their quarter-final.
But the team was unable to match Japan in the semi-final, going down 8-4.
The curlers will play Russia tomorrow for the bronze medal.
Winter Youth Olympic Games coverage is available on Sky Sport.