3 Jan 2018

Injury not holding back 16-year-old olympian

12:31 pm on 3 January 2018

A torn ligament is not holding back New Zealand's youngest winter olympian, who says he's "as ready as ever" for this year's games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Wanaka freeskier Nico Porteous is used to breaking records.

Wanaka freeskier Nico Porteous is used to breaking records. Photo: Tommy Pyatt

At 16-years-old, Wanaka freeskier, Nico Porteous, is used to breaking records, as he was the youngest free skier to successfully land a 'triple cork 1440' (three back-flips and four full spins in one jump).

Despite his youth, he had also signed two sponsorship deals with Red Bull and GoPro.

However, a skiing injury sustained a few weeks ago in Colorado threatened to put it all in jeopardy, after he tore a ligament in his knee.

"Everything we do is extremely calculated, but obviously it sometimes can go wrong," he told Summer Report.

He was now in rehab in Wanaka, but said he would be ready for the Winter Olympics, which starts in February.

"Rehab is coming along very well... I've got a really good support team down here," he said. "I'm going to be back to normal in no time."

Nico said there was a lot training that went into preparing for the Winter Olympics, as well as a lot of travel.

"A lot of preparation goes into our tricks and we go around the world chasing facilities that let us practice them in a safe environment."

He would also soon be leaving for Canada, for three weeks of pre-olympics training.

Even though Nico would be the youngest person to represent New Zealand in PyeongChang, he said for him, age was not a barrier.

"In our sport I see age isn't really a factor ... it's purely [your mental state] and how hard you train and how much you want it," he said. "Just because I'm the youngest in the field, in my eyes, it doesn't mean I'm never going to be as good as the top guys."

However, he admitted he does get scared.

"I get absolutely terrified, scared out of this world."

However, he said he relied on this adrenaline to give him a competitive edge.

A team of around 20 New Zealand athletes are expected to compete at the games, which will involve up to 3000 athletes from up to 95 nations.

The Winter Olympic Games are expected to begin on 9 February 2018.