Who are Australia’s greatest-ever winter athletes? With the Winter Olympics one month away I thought I’d pose what is a difficult question.
How do you compare snowboarders to skiers and those who survived off the sniff of a panini in the 80s to millionaire athletes of the most recent generation?
Well, I’m going to give it a go. The results won’t please everyone but having been to four Games and seen most of them first hand I’m going to rate them from 10 to 1. Drum roll please …
Scotty James -took all before him in 2016/17. Now for the Olympics.
If you want to know what Scotty James has been up to this past six months, even he says it’s best not to look at his social media.
There’s Barcelona, boxing poses and a boat in Miami that could be straight from The Lonely Island film clip.
“My Instagram probably says otherwise – that I have been having a good time but I have been working really hard,” he says with a chuckle.
In the first of a series of interviews leading up to the Winter Olympics, starting on February 9, The Snow Gauge chats to moguls skier Matt Graham and talks about his rivalry with Canadian great Mikael Kingsbury.
Matt Graham is looking to add an Olympic medal to his World Cup wins and awards. Pic: OWIA
Just how do you dethrone the king?
It’s a question that has been on the mind of Australian moguls champion Matt Graham for some time.
While Graham will head to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February as one his country’s best medal prospects, there’s royalty in his way.
It comes in the form of Canadian Mikael Kingsbury, a six-time World Cup champion who, quite simply, is the best the sport has seen.
Quiksilver have come to the party this week and provided us with a jacket for the first week of The Snow Gauge winter giveaways.
“But I already bought an Aldi jacket” I hear you say.
You and 22,228 others as it turns out.
To stand out this Southern Hemisphere winter you’ll just need to sign up for The Snow Gauge newsletter to get a shot at winning this sweet Horizon jacket from Quiksilver.
Scotty James and Britt Cox – shared winners at Australian Skiing and Snowboarding’s night of nights. Pic: OWIA
In the end Australia’s two best winter athletes just couldn’t be separated.
So it seemed only fitting that moguls skier Britt Cox and halfpipe snowboarder Scotty James shared the Australian Snowsports Athlete of the Year Award.
When the Australia Day gongs were handed down I was little bit surprised to find that moguls skier Dale Begg-Smith was amongst the recipients this year, receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to sport.
A gold medal moguls winner for Australia in 2006 at the Turin Winter Olympics he backed it up with silver four years later in Vancouver.
Those achievements are unquestioned and from all reports he has given back a fair bit of his time to fellow skiers, his mentorship no doubt helping to pave the way for the likes of Matt Graham and Britt Cox to achieve the success they have.
But – and here comes the but …