Jenny Owens has been one of Australia’s most successful skiers. A speed racer and ski cross exponent she is targeting her first love – alpine skiing – for a fourth Winter Olympics. If successful it may just be a world first – going from one Winter sport to another then back again at the highest level. She discusses her decision and plans in an exclusive interview with The Snow Gauge.
In a country where it can be brutally hard to get by as a pro on two planks Jenny’s done so for nearly two decades, first as a successful alpine skier then as a medal-winning ski cross racer.
A three-time Winter Olympian, she is one of only two Australians to register a top-ten alpine result at a Games (ninth in the combined 2002 Salt Lake City). She then went on to win multiple World Cup and X Games medals in ski cross. Jenny competed at two further Olympics (2010 and 2014).
After much deliberation Jenny, 38, is targeting a spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang – in downhill, super combined and potentially super G.
Inspired by the recent approval of a new water ramp facility to be built at the NSW North Coast town of Lennox Head, Lydia Lassila has announced plans to target a fifth Winter Olympics.
A gold medallist from Vancouver 2010, she has agonised over the decision since also taking out bronze at the Sochi Games in 2014.
And while she accepts that realistically she may not even get to use the new Australian facility before the Games she was determined to go out on her own terms.
Weights aren’t just for pro athletes, vain posers and muscle heads. If you want to ski and snowboard better you should add some lifting into your exercise routine.
Three-time Australian Winter Olympian (alpine/ski cross) and X-Games medallist Jenny Lyons (nee Owens) takes us through the key weights exercises you should be doing to get Winter Fit.
As a recreational skier or snowboarder it can be pretty easy to ignore the weights-room. A little stretching, some time on the stationary bike; the odd class – she’ll be right mate!
But this recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald revealed a lot. A study of nearly 200,000 Australians showed 90 per cent of them don’t do enough weight training – that is two times a week. And this is despite 60 per cent of Aussies saying they are in to some form of exercise.
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.