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.
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.
Kasete Skeen – wants to race at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
He smoked. He drank. He was 25kg overweight. He’s half-English. Skiing for Tonga at the 2018 Winter Olympics doesn’t seem like the logical next step for Kasete Skeen but the 34 year-old is going to give it a crack.
If Kasete Naufahu Skeen realises his aim of becoming an Olympian don’t expect him to oil up and get around in a traditional Tongan waist garment like Rio 2016 compatriot and Internet sensation Pita Taufatofua.
It’s not that Skeen wouldn’t proudly represent the island nation of 105,000 people – more likely he’d just freeze his nipples off. This is, after all, South Korea in winter, where temperatures drop to -10 degrees Celsius.