Unlikely. The New Zealand government announced this week its decision to spend a record 20 million New Zealand dollars (12.1 million euros at current exchange rates) on funding… winter sports. The grant from the public authorities will be used to prepare for the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. In detail, an additional NZ$1.6 million will be paid annually to Snow Sports New Zealand, the body responsible for winter disciplines, an increase of more than 60% compared to the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. “New Zealand’s unprecedented success at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games earlier this year illustrates the wealth of young talent emerging in winter sports,” said New Zealand’s Sports Minister Grant Robertson. “Our investment will support the winter sports high performance strategy, including athlete and coach pathways. It will also be used to provide facilities for our best winter sports athletes and para-athletes to compete at the highest level.” At Beijing 2022, New Zealand won the first two Winter Games titles in its history, thanks to Zoi Sadowski-Synnott in the women’s slopestyle (pictured above) and Nico Porteous in the men’s half-pipe. According to a statement from the Ministry of Sport, the money will also be used to help disciplines previously ignored by public funding programmes, such as luge and biathlon.
— Published 9 September 2022