After a breakthrough season in which he took out his first World Cup event and finished second overall in the World Cup, Matt Graham has won the 2016 Ski and Snowboard Australia Athlete of the Year award.
Graham, who came seventh at the Sochi Winter Olympics, will be one of the names to watch at Pyeongchang in February 2018.
Australia is preparing a feasibility study to host the 2026 Winter Olympics in the NSW Snowy Mountains town of Jindabyne with the unprecedented prospect of Thredbo and Perisher working together for the event.
Sources close to the Australian Olympic Committee told The Snow Gauge exclusively that it was confident a winnable bid could be mounted in the next six months.
It comes off the back of just two bidders vying for the 2022 event and no serious candidates putting their hand up for 2026.
As far as preparation for the 2015/16 winter went, Matt Graham’s couldn’t get much worse.
In a sport known for mangling meniscuses Graham instead decided it’d be more fun to injure himself falling off a fence a little over a metre high while collecting a volleyball in Park City, Utah back in June.
Greta Small is Australia’s best alpine skiing prospect of the last decade. The world’s fastest slalom skier in the super combined at last year’s Junior World Championships, she already has Olympic, World Cup and senior World Championship events under her belt at just 20 years of age. Recently returned from a serious injury, Small says her knee won’t hold her back. But the hefty cost of participating in the sport just might.
It’d be churlish to suggest Greta Small’s alpine skiing career has cost her a house. Not in the inflated property markets of Sydney, Melbourne or in her home town of Perth anyway.
But a unit? Now that wouldn’t be a stretch.
“In terms of each season how much are we putting our hands into our pockets compared to the (Olympic Winter Institute scholarship)? Probably $80,000 – $90,000 of my funds for this season,” she says, making it pretty clear her parents are largely picking up the tab. “That’s in terms of funding my season and being able to train and travel to competitions.”
Do you remember where you were when Cathy Freeman won in 2000? Perhaps when Steven Bradbury claimed Australia’s first and most unlikely Winter Olympics gold? And what about when Wilbur Fingerdoo brazenly snatched $5000 from the hands of a snow babe at the 1990 Dash for Cash at Perisher?
Last one a bit of a stretch for you? It wasn’t for me. A quarter of a century ago I remember sitting gobsmacked on my lounge as a teenager watching this incredible heist unfold on Wide World of Sports. It was a brazen theft that so rocked the Perisher ski resort that mountain operations almost came to a standstill . It featured on page three of the Sydney Morning Herald. And it made a legend of four skiers for eternity.
It’s a story that has it all: a Hollywood heart throb, wads of stolen cash, four angry Austrians and an Aussie Olympic ski champ all captured with more cheese by Wide World of Sports then a Mozzarella factory in Naples. The legend has remained idle for a quarter of a century but we can painstakingly reveal the truth behind this sordid tale of the slopes, stolen cash and the mother of all scams as told exclusively to The Snow Gauge by two of its protagonists.
He’s a world champion. An overall World Cup champion. The youngest Australian male Olympian in 50 years. He competed at two Games before his 20th birthday. And if you had any questions about whether he could really mix it with the big boys – he answered them with a third place in stacked fields at the Red Bull Double Pipe and Dew Tour events last northern hemisphere winter.
We are of course talking about Scotty James, who kindly took time out of his schedule – and from posting a number of sneaky/styley snowboarding clips on his Facebook page from his recent travails at Perisher (more on them later) to speak with The Snow Gauge.
Torah Bright talks … snowboarding. Want something else, go somewhere else!
Remove the sponsors, the looks, the ex-husband, the current fiance, talk about religion, funding feuds and approximately 1,211 other peripheral issues to snowboarding and what do you have left with Torah Bright?
Australia’s greatest winter athlete.
Sport loves a side story, a back story and a colour story. It gives context and meaning. But sometimes in the search for something else the real story of just how good an athlete is gets missed.
For Lydia Lassila it’s the $8 million question to which she has a simple answer: build a proper water jump facility for snow athletes in Australia and she’ll have a crack at a fifth Winter Olympics.
For those that don’t know, water ramps can be just as key for winter athletes as the snowbound facilities. It is here where they spend their summers (and often parts of their winters) to learn, perform and perfect the tricks they will take to the hills.
A water jump facility was initially slated to be built in east Brisbane but the project was halted in 2013, then Liberal Premier Campbell Newman calling it a “luxury item the people of Queensland simply cannot afford”. The NSW far north coast town of Lennox Head then became a possible home for the site but development plans are still on ice, waiting for funding from the state and federal governments.
Ok, I can hear the guffaws already. I love winter sports and even I have my doubts. But the the two-time Winter Olympic medallist (Vancouver 2010, gold and Sochi 2014 bronze) lays down a case as smooth as her triple-twisting double-somersaults. (more…)
It was a year and then some after his Sochi silver medal efforts before David Morris realised that he’d really made it.
While Adam Goodes may beg to differ, featuring on Eddie McGuire’s Millionaire Hot Seat was surely the ultimate sign of national acceptance.
From Sochi to Rio? Anything looks possible for
Steph Magiros after the Winter Olympian claimed
silver on the vault at the Australian Gymnastics
Championships. Photo: Harry Magiros
After scraping into the vault final at the Australian Gymnastics Championships Steph Magiros has performed superbly to finish second. (more…)
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