Coady third in snowboard slopestyle

Melissa Woods |

Australian snowboarder Tess Coady spent all of the previous night icing a foot injury and can now spend all of Sunday night partying after winning Olympic bronze in the women’s slopestyle.

The 21-year-old claimed Australia’s first medal of the Beijing Olympics on Sunday 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.

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.

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

Two-time defending champion Jamie Anderson from the United States finished ninth.

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

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 freedom 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 adrenaline when you come down you don’t feel anything.”

Coady was fifth in the 12-rider field to start, meaning she had a nervous wait through the third round 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 goes some days.

“That was crazy – so sick.”

Coady was thrilled to see Sadowski Synnott, who won the X Games last month, rewarded with gold.

“Zoi is such a legend and she inspires me so much,” she said of the 20-year-old Kiwi.

“After she landed her first run, it was so motivating and it fired me up to want to land one as well.”

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

She was also very close to the late Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, the Australian snowboard cross star who took her under his wing when she was starting out.

“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.

Australian Matt Cox did not advance from the men’s slopestyle qualifying round after finishing 26th.

China’s Su Yiming was the leading qualifier.