Australia sent 51 athletes to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and that investment has paid off with a silver medal for Matt Graham in the men’s moguls competition.
It is tough being involved in snow sports in Australia.
Graham, a 23-year-old from the hamlet of Gosford, 76 km to the north of Sydney, would not have woken up to a lot of snow outside his bedroom window. Instead, he spent hours in the car during winter weekends in order to see snow.
Graham was within a whisker of taking gold, but in the small sports community of Australia, simply qualifying for an Olympics final is a rarity of some magnitude. He eventually was overtaken by Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury, who probably saw more snow on his birthday than Graham saw in Gosford for his entire life.
As difficult as it must have been for Graham to hone his craft, he apparently possesses more than a modicum of talent, as he entered the Pyeongchang games ranked as number three in the world for his discipline.
Graham was in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games, where he placed seventh.
After taking the silver in these Games, he told reporters, “A whole life of hard work and it comes down to 25 seconds – one bad turn and you can be out of it. “It was really challenging. I was watching them go down and was thinking put it down, keep it smooth. “I was just having fun I was feeling loose. I was skiing a different line to most and it stayed nice.
Nothing unusual about an Aussie taking a different approach, is there?
Growing up close to the coast, Graham in his earlier years harboured dreams of being a sailor in Olympic competition. He became involved with the Perisher Winter Sports Club when he was eight years of age and his parents took him on the 555 km car ride every weekend during the winter months, leaving on Friday and coming home late on Sunday.
Mum and Dad deserve a chunk of that medal.