This Jarryd’s got some game too
There’s another Jarryd who’s made it in America. He didn’t try out for the Fijian rugby sevens team though and he’s a much better chance than the Hayne Plane of winning an Olympic medal.
Forget footy for just for a moment and start thinking snowboarding.
Jarryd Hughes may not be a multi-code football star but he is an X Games winner in snowboard cross, a World Cup winner and Australian Winter Olympian.
In what was looming as an epic season after the win in Aspen, Jarryd (that’s Hughes not Hayne folks) busted his knee when testing out the site for the Korean Olympic course. The Snow Gauge caught up with him to see where things were at.
The Snow Gauge: First up the knee – where are you at injury-wise at the moment?
Jarryd Hughes: Yeah the knee is going well I am now in back in full training, getting fit and strong for the season coming ahead.
TSG: Is it the same knee that you are having the trouble with and the same issues? What can you do about it going forward?
JH: Yeah, its the same knee. Five knee surgeries deep and still going strong! I had a lot of problems at the beginning of my career and didn’t get put into the right space to not have injuries throughout my career. For the last few years with my strength and conditioning coach Tom Carter, we have been getting things right and everything is starting to feel great!
TSG: Obviously a big disappointment given the winter you were having during the last northern hemisphere?
JH: Yeah not the best end to the season, but damn I was just starting to hit my groove and being the first Aussie male to have an X Games Gold is still something that I can be really proud of. You just have to move forward and get ready to do it again next season.
TSG: Take us through that X Games win – the biggest achievement of your career so far? It was a pretty amazing.
JH: Ohh 100% biggest achievement of my career and there only two things that will ever match it. Winning X Games again and Winning the Olympics.
It was a pretty crazy week in Aspen, we had a few days of training and I was feeling positive. During time trial I felt good and qualified in first place. The weather quickly turned and by race day it was absolutely dumping snow! I didn’t let this phase me but I knew it was going to be a different race than what I planned for. My wax tech Blake Lewis was on fire and I knew I had to get out in front early in the race – which I was able to do. In the first race I led from the front and won the heat. In the semi-final I was able to get out on front but it was a lot tighter but I still won the race. Into the final and I followed the same strategy, I got out in front but was feeling the pressure, I made a few mistakes and fell back to 2nd, then 3rd and then 4th but I was not gonna give up! I was able to keep up and pass the field and then caught Alex (Pullin) over the line with a quick passing move on the inside – BOOM X Games Gold Baby!
TSG: But you’ve also had a World Cup win – did the Aspen victory just cement what you feel you can achieve in the sport?
JH: Yeah was good to back up my World Cup win with an X Games win especially after the year I had in-between with injuries. I know when I am 100% fit and healthy with the right support around me I can compete to win – it just comes down to who is best on the day.
TSG: what’s the plan over the rest of the southern hemisphere season, will you be getting back into some on-snow here?
JH: The plan is going to be a good one but if I told you, I might just have to kill you haha. But seriously I am going to focus on my strength and conditioning and only spend some limited time down in Perisher to help out some of the younger kids with their racing!
TSG: Then two full World Cup seasons before Pyeongchang?
Yep exactly the qualifying clock has already started. So the plan is to get onto the World Cup tour and qualify for the Olympics and just go from there.
TSG: Your first Olympics in Sochi, how do you look upon the event and what do you feel you learned from the experience there?
Sochi was an experience to say the least, I had a lot of help going into those Games including Torah and Ben Bright and they gave me some great advice that I listened to but I couldn’t quite believe it, until I experienced it – everything is under the microscope. Now I’ve been to one Olympics at the next one I will know exactly what is happening and how to deal with it a little better.
TSG: And all good now I’ll take it with the team and the new scholarship arrangements?
Yeah, I have a scholarship with the OWIA and it is working. They are doing everything they can to help me get to the Olympics with the best chance of an Olympic Gold medal!
TSG: guess it didn’t work out so well for you when you checked out the Korean course (where you injured yourself) but what did you make of the facility there and how do you think the Olympics will be in Pyeongchang?
JH: Korea definitely didn’t go to plan, getting hurt in training is never the plan. I think I learnt more by watching that event than I ever could have learnt actually riding it. I think Korea is going to be a great Olympics, The Koreans are on top of everything and it looks like it will be a great set up! Fingers crossed we get into the athletes village on time haha
TSG: Your aim for the Games then?
Same plan as the last olympics WIN! I’m not turning up for anything else. It is a phenomenal honour to just qualify and represent Australia but the intention is to go to the Games to race away with a win!