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Moguls ready to rise to the top

6 February 2018

MOGUL SKIING: Australia’s full contingent moguls team have enjoyed their first training run on the PyeongChang 2018 course – and they believe the conditions are primed for Australian success.

Four Australian men and four Australian women will compete in the freestyle skiing event, beginning with qualifications on Day 0 (Friday 9 February).

The team competed on the Phoenix Snow Park course in February 2017 but recent adjustments to the moguls has put the competition into Australia’s advantage.

“The moguls are actually quite big and firm which adds a bit more technicality to the course,” Sochi Olympian Matt Graham said.

“Last year from my perspective the course may have been slightly easy so they’ve done a really good job to build the top section up and put a bit more pitch and firmer and icier moguls in which I think will work into [Australia’s] favour as we’re generally really technical skiers so that gives us a lot of confidence going forward into the week.”

Graham, who is competing in his second Winter Olympic Games, said the course design would "separate the men from the boys".

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“For us [the course is] quite normal; it’s 250m, it’s about 28 degrees in pitch but what can change is just the snow conditions, the shape of the moguls, the transitions to the jumps.

“That’s the stuff they can really manipulate to make the course more technical, and for us we thrive on technical courses and challenging courses.”

Fellow men’s mogul skier Brodie Summers – who is also lining up for his second Olympic berth – agreed that the course was tough but was a welcome personal challenge.

Returning from major surgery on his ACL in September 2017, Summers relished his the opportunity to try out the Winter Olympic venue just days before competition.

“Last night I looked at it and I thought this will be a really good test for [for my knee] because as we’ve discussed the conditions are quite challenging and it’s a technical course,” he said.

“But after the first two runs I warmed up, I relaxed into it and I had a really good time.

“I looked at the video after training and I thought ‘you know what, the skiing’s not looking too bad’ so I’m feeling good about where I’m at.”

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Olympic debutant Jakara Anthony said for the moment, the experience felt similar to her World Cup appearances – which is good news for Australia given the 19-year-old finished fifth at the first Deer Valley World Cup in January this year.

“I’m just trying to approach it the same as a World Cup so that I can put together the run that I’m trying to do, similar to what I’ve been doing all season,” Anthony said.

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Still, it will be an incredibly tough battle for a spot on the podium and some of Anthony’s greatest threats are her teammates, including world number 4 Britt Cox  who will make her third Olympic start at just 23 years of age.

Cox, who took out the World Championship title in Sierra Nevada, Spain, in March 2017, said the women’s moguls’ event would be one to watch in PyeongChang.

“It’s a really exciting time in women’s mogul skiing at the moment and I feel really honoured to be a part of that,” Cox said.

“At the moment, anyone within the top 10 is capable of putting down the best run on the night and that’s really exciting and that’s really motivating for me for when I’m up there and training in the next couple of days to push myself and let that competitive vibe come out of me in my training in through to the competition.”

Moguls qualification will be held on Day 0 (February 9), with Women's finals on Day 2 and Men's finals on Day 3 (February 10-11). See more of the freestyle skiing Team HERE.

Candice Keller
olympics.com.au

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