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.
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 …
Matt Graham getting things done in Deer Valley. Pic: OWIA/Andrew Pattison
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.
Breakthrough win … Matt Graham took out the Deer Valley World Cup moguls event last month. Pic: OWIA/Andrew Pattison
- Matt Graham won his first World Cup moguls event at Deer Valley this season
- He has 5 World Cup podium finishes
- As a 19 year-old he was 7th in Sochi
- Graham is still good mates with Dale Begg-Smith, chatting often a few times a week with the Olympic gold and silver medallist about his technique.
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.