Two-time Olympian and Australia's leading Alpine Ski Racer, NSWIS athlete Greta Small, has unfortunately suffered a season ending knee injury at the Europa Cup Super-G event in Sella Nevea, Italy.
The injury ends a strong season by Small, highlighted by a 20th place finish at the World Championships in Are, and a personal best World Cup result of 22nd in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
After the accident, Small posted on her Instagram Account.
"Unfortunately I had a hard crash in Super G which has resulted in a torn ACL."
"Not how I wanted to come home!"
"Thanks to the OWIA for looking out for me, I’m down but not out."
IMAGE - Greta Small at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games © Steve Cuff
NSWIS Alpine Skier Greta Small recorded her highest World Cup downhill placing of the season, finishing in 39th position at Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
On Sunday, Small was also in action in the alpine combined event, finishing in 22nd, also a seasons best performance in the combined discipline.
Small will now head to Rosa Khutor, Russiia, site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi for the next round of the women's alpine World Cup speed events.
Competing in her third World Championships, NSWIS Alpine Skier Greta Small has had a successful event, with two personal best results in the Super-G and Downhill disciplines in Are, Sweden.
Improving from her previous best results set in 2015 at Vail and Beaver Creek, Small recorded a 25th place finish in the Super-G and 30th in the Downhill.
Small almost had another PB in the Alpine Combined event, with a 20th place finish in Are, just two spots behind her 18th place finish from 2015.
2018 Olympian Harry Laidlaw has also been in action for Australia, finishing in 37th place in the men's Super-G.
Two events remain on the schedule for the Australian team in Are, with Harry Laidlaw and Alec Scott competing in the Giant Slalom on February 15, with Scott back again in the Slalom on February 17.
IMAGE - The men’s and women's speed course in Are © are2019 Instagram
The World Championships season continues with Ski and Snowboard Australia (SSA) announcing a trio of Aussies to tackle the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and a dynamic duo to take on the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships.
Olympians Greta Small and Harry Laidlaw along with Alec Scott have been selected to wear the green and gold at the senior event, which begins in Are, Sweden on 4 February.
Young guns Madison Hoffman and Louis Muhlen-Schulte were also selected to the team but the pair will focus on the junior event, to be held in Val di Fass from 18-27 February – their selection confirmed today.
A two-time World Championships representative (2013, 2015), Greta Small will compete in the Ladies’ Super G, Alpine Combined and Downhill events. The Dual Olympian has been a steady fixture on the 2018-19 World and European Cup circuits and most recently hit the slopes at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) World Cup.
Small, who missed the 2017 World Championships due to injury but recorded a top 20 result in the Downhill a year later at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, is capable of a strong performance and will be pulling out all stops when she takes to the Swedish slopes.
PyeongChang Olympian Harry Laidlaw has also spent the season on the competitive European circuit. Laidlaw will take on the Men’s Super G and Giant Slalom events and will be out to improve on his performance at the 2017 World Championships which did not go to plan and resulted in a DNF (in the Super G).
Scott will compete in the Men’s Giant Slalom and Slalom events. The 22-year-old represented Australia three times at the Junior World Championships, but this is his first time competing at the senior event. Returning from knee surgery, Scott must compete in qualification races before starting in both events.
SSA Alpine Director, Mick Branch, said Australia’s athletes would represent their country proudly.
“The World Championships are the pinnacle event of the alpine season and we’re pleased to have three Australian athletes skiing at this event,” Wordsworth said.
“Greta and Harry have gained good competition experience on the European circuit and the World Championships presents another opportunity for this accomplished duo to compete on the world stage.
“It’s great to see Alec taking the next step in his skiing career and competing at a senior World Championships for the first time. We wish him well in his qualifying,” he said.
“Madison and Louis have also been performing well, recording top 10 results on the Nor-Am Cup,” Wordsworth said. “We are excited to see how Madison and Louis perform at the upcoming Junior World Championships in Italy.”
Meanwhile, PyeongChang Olympian Dominic Demschar had to withdraw from the senior Championships due to injury.
“Dominic has been managing lower back and hip issues and this has unfortunately ruled him out of the World Championships,” said Branch.
“Dom is undergoing treatment in the USA and we wish him a quick and full recovery,” Branch said.
2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – Australia’s Schedule
Ladies’ Super G - 5 February (Small)
Men’s Super G - 6 February (Laidlaw)
Ladies Alpine Combined - 8 February (Small)
Ladies Downhill - 10 February (Small)
Men’s Giant Slalom - 15 February (Laidlaw; Scott)
Men’s Slalom - 17 February (Scott)
WATCH all the action on the event’s Facebook live steam
For more event information – click here
To view the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships schedule – click here
2019 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships – Australia’s schedule TBC
LIVE TIMING from the event – click here
For more event information – click here
To view the 2019 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships schedule – click here
Over the weekend in In Cortina d’ Amparezzo, Italy, Greta Small finished 38th at the Alpine World Cup super-g event in a time of 1:27.29.
Earlier in the week Small competed in two Europa Cup downhill events at Val di Fassa, Italy, finishing 30th and 48th.
Small will now travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, for the next round of the Women's Alpine World Cup tour for downhill and super-g starts next weekend.
Greta Small has commenced her 2018-2019 campaign competing in the Alpine Skiing World Cup events in Lake Louise, Canada.
Small's best result was 45th in the Super-G in a field of 54 racers.
She also competed in two downhill events, finishing 46th on day one, and 48th on day two.
The ladies World Cup tour now heads to St Moritz, Switzerland, for Super-G and Slalom events on December 8-9.
Dual Olympian Greta Small will no doubt be back despite an unfavorable end to her PyeongChang campaign.The 22-year-old recorded a DNF in her pet event, the Combined, after missing a gate in the Downhill run.
Small was one of ten skiers in a field of 32 to not progress through to the slalom component of the event.
“On jump two I landed quite low and really pushed hard to get back on line,” Small said.
“But catching an edge and then rotating I had no chance.
“It was about to pull me into the inside panel and I just had to save it in order not to have a massive crash.”
Small had finished 15th in the event as an 18-year-old in Sochi and was disappointed with not getting a chance to better that.
After finishing 31st in the Super G event to open her Games, Small recorded the best ever Australian women’s result when she finished 20th in Downhill.
She now has her sights set on a third Olympic Games appearance.
“I’m 100% going for Bejing.”
In an unusual turn of events, more than half of the men’s Slalom field did not finish the challenging course at Yongpyeong Alpine Centre yesterday.Aussie Dominic Demschar was among the 54 athletes of the total 106 competitors who did not complete their first run.
Demschar, who placed 33rd in the Giant Slalom last week, shot out of the start gate, but was almost too eager as he misjudged his opening speed and was stuck on the first gate.
“[My ski] hooked a little more aggressively than I was expecting to,” he said. “The edge grabbed and then I went on the wrong side of the gate.
“It’s happened to plenty of people before and it will happen to plenty more people after.”
Although he was disappointed his PyeongChang Games campaign had come to a premature end, the 24-year-old said that was nature of the sport.
“I’ve never done that [hooked the first gate] before so it’s never struck me as something that I might do.
“You don’t even think about [the first gate] when you push out, but it’s an obvious feeling when you go around the wrong side, it feels awkward and it happened and it was almost more disbelief than anything.
“Slalom happens, 64 turning gates, 64 chances to do what I did. I just chose the first gate to do it on.”
Slalom legend Austria’s Marcel Hirscher – who has already won Olympic gold in both the men’s Gant Slalom and Alpine Combined in PyeongChang – was another athlete to miss a gate in this morning’s run and rule themselves out of the second run.
With the reigning world champion and triple Olympian out of contention for the podium the gold medal is anyone’s shot.
Norway’s Henrik Fistoffersen was the fastest down the mountain in the first run in a time of 47.72. Andre Myhrer from Sweden was next (+.21) followed by France’s Victor Muffat-Jeandet currently in the bronze medal position (+.62).
Demschar has said his overall second Games has still been a really positive experience.
“I found this Games more enjoyable, maybe I’m a little more into what’s happening around me, I really liked it here,” he said.
The US based athlete now returns to his training base in Salt Lake City for a few days of rest before he wraps up the Nor Am finals in Kimberley (British Columbia) and rounds out the season in Europe.
Greta Small lives for the chance to charge down the hill.
The 22-year-old will again feel that exhilaration in Olympic competition when she takes part in the adrenaline pumping Downhill today.
The young gun has had three days of training and has progressively improved as she becomes accustomed to the course.
“It’s a super fun track with no time for rest,” Small said.
“There are four bigger jumps and another five roller jumps.
“I missed a couple gates in training today so just need to attack tomorrow to hold the line.”
Small cut one second off her run from day one of training today and another 0.61 seconds on her third and final run before competition.
“I’m happy with the improvements I made in my turns, now it’s time to charge on race day tomorrow.”
She will be out on the course as the 26th runner.
Following the Downhill, Small will have a chance to likely gain her best result in PyeongChang when she competes in the Combined on Thursday.
It was in that event that she surprised the Sochi 2014 crowd as an 18-year-old when she finished 15th.
Greta Small has opened her PyeongChang 2018 campaign with a 31st place finish in the women's Super G at Jeongseon Alpine Centre.
Gunning for a top 30 finish, Small crossed the line 2.98 seconds behind gold medallist Esta Ledecka of the Czech Republic in a time of 1:24.09.
"The track was in perfect conditions, sunny top to bottom and I couldn't have asked for better conditions for my first Olympic race here," Small said.
"I know I could have skied better but I'm happy that I am under three seconds behind which was a goal of mine.
"I was really happy about that but a little disappointed I didn't make the top 30 which I was only 0.08 seconds outside of it."
It's been a long way back for Small who has spent more time off the snow rehabbing as opposed to on it competing.
"I'm so happy to be here after a really rough two years," she said.
"A year ago I didn't think I would be here so I'm just so happy I am."
She now is looking forward to competing in her next event - the Downhill.
"The next three days are Downhill training and then two more races (Downhill and Combined)," she said.
"I'm excited to keep getting faster from here."
In one of the stories of the Games so far, it was the snowboard parallel giant slalom world champion in Ledecka who upset the heavy hitters to win the gold.
"She's been skiing really well," continued Small.
"St Moritz Super G we were skiing the same times. From bib 26 for her to put down the winning run shows you what great conditions we have here and that it is anyone's game out there."
Ledecka finished 0.01 seconds ahead of Austria's Anna Veith who won silver with Tina Wierather of Liechtenstein 0.1 seconds behind taking the bronze.
Small will now compete in the Downhill on Day 12 (Wednesday 21 February) and the Alpine Combined (Friday 23 February) events.
ALPINE SKIING: Greta Small and Dominic Demschar are off to their second Olympic Games after being selected to wear the green and gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.
22-year-old Small lined up in all five alpine events on Olympic debut at Sochi and will again be entered into all five disciplines four years on.
“I am very excited and proud to be selected to represent Australia at my second Olympics,” she said.
“They only come around every four years and I’ve been working extremely hard and gave it my all, physically and mentally, to come back from injury and qualify so I’m stoked to say I’ve made the Team.
“I am a more experienced and a stronger all round athlete than four years ago in Sochi so I am definitely aiming for better results this time around.”
Having recorded some strong results including a 15th place finish in the Super G in Sochi, Small has overcome plenty of adversity in recent years after two injuries disrupted the majority of both her 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.
She returned to competition in December and is now ready to speed towards more Olympic success in a little over a fortnight’s time.
“After a really tough three years missing two full race seasons due to knee injuries I am very proud and humbled to be on the Team.
“It’s been a bumpy roller coaster ride to get to this point but because of that I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve become so much stronger and overcome more than I thought I was capable of three years ago.
“Hard work pays off and I know the best is yet to come.”
The young gun got the chance to check out the giant slalom and slalom courses in early 2017 and is ready to lay it all out there.
“I have raced multiple times in Yongpyong, the tech venue, and it’s a very steep hill with a constant pitch. It also has a longer steep pitch than most men’s World Cup hills so it should be an exciting race.
“I’m yet to race at the speed venue at Jeongseon but watching the World Cup last year it’s a fast start with lots of terrain and about five big jumps.”
Tech specialist Demschar will join Small in Olympic competition again in PyeongChang and is pumped to be getting the chance to again represent Australia on sport’s greatest stage.
“I’m really happy to have qualified for my second Olympic team as it was one of my major goals to start the season and I’m glad to have reached it,” he said.
The 24-year-old finished 39th in the giant slalom and did not finish the second run of slalom event in Sochi. He is confident he can better those results in PyeongChang.
“I’m much better prepared this time around as four years ago as I was a little wide-eyed.
“I feel that I know much more of what to expect and I am ready for it.
“I’m feeling good in the lead up to the Games with things coming together nicely, so the goal is definitely to improve on my results from Sochi.”
Small kicks off her campaign on Day 3 of the Games (February 12) in the women’s giant slalom while Demschar will wait until Day 9 (February 18) to tackle the men’s giant slalom.
Australia’s best result in an Olympic Alpine event came at the Nagano 1998 Games when Zali Stegall claimed slalom bronze. Since Bob Arnott, Bill Day and Barry Patten became the first Australians to compete in the sport at the 1952 Oslo Games, Australia has had a total of 45 alpine skiers line up in Olympic competition.
Dominic Demschar has continued his steady build up towards a second Olympic appearance with a bronze medal at a Giant Slalom FIS event in Cerkno, Slovenia on Friday.
The Sochi 2014 Olympian combined to finish the two runs in 1:43.09 to claim the final spot on the podium as local Dusan Sencar took the victory.
Demschar had little time to rest and celebrate his medal as he headed to Seefeld in Austria for two Slalom events on Saturday where he claimed 12th and then did not finish the first run of the final event.
Demschar’s Sochi teammate and fellow PyeongChang 2018 hopeful Greta Small was also in action, albeit against much tougher fields at the Cortina d’Ampezzo World Cup.
Small lined up against the world’s best as she competed in two Downhill competitions at the site of the 1956 Olympic Games.
She claimed 36th in a time of 1:42.17 in the first event, as Italy’s Sofia Goggia took the win in a time of 1:36.45.
In the second event she finished in a time of 1:43.31 in 47th as Lindsey Vonn took the win in 1:36.48.
Both Small and Demschar are aiming to be selected for their second Olympic appearances at PyeongChang 2018.
In Sochi Small competed in all five events as an 18-year-old, claiming her best result with a 15th in the Super G.
Demschar lined up in two events in his Olympic debut, finishing 39th in the Giant Slalom before getting a DNF in the Slalom after not completing his second run.
It might be her first time on the course but young gun Greta Small is looking forward to pushing herself to the edge in Italy over the weekend.
Small will line up against the world's best at Cortina d`Ampezzo in two Downhill and a Super G World Cup events as the countdown to PyeongChang hits three weeks to go.
The Sochi 2014 Olympian competed in all five alpine events at her debut Games but no doubt fancies the speed disciplines she will tackle this weekend over the tech events.
“The track is in good shape and the views of the Dolomites are spectacular,” Small said.
“There is a 40m jump into La Schuss between two Dolomite formations which is epic.”
Small has spent the last two days on the Downhill course where she put down training run times just over four seconds outside of the top three.
“The training runs have been OK. I’ve just been feeling the run and building confidence on a new Downhill slope.
“I’m really excited for the next three days of racing.”
Small kicks off in Cortina at 8:15pm (AEDT) Friday night with the first Downhill event. The event will be shown live on Eurosport (Foxtel channel 511).
The second Downhill event takes place at 8pm on Saturday. The Super G is on at 9:45pm and again will be shown live on Eurosport.
Live results can be found here.
ALPINE SKIING: When you compete in hundreds of races on the international circuit you're definitely not going to like how you do in every one of them.
Unfortunately for alpine speedster Greta Small the past few days have been some of those runs that you want simply move on from.
In what were difficult conditions in Innerkrems, Austria, where races were cancelled and others delayed, Small lined up in two Super G events.
She finished 37th in a time of 1:16.71, 3.49 seconds behind winner Nina Ortlieb of Austria in the first race.
Small then backed up to claim 51st in 1:19.81 but improved to only 3.21 seconds behind Austria's Franziska Gritsch.
"The conditions were super flat and bumpy," Small said.
"I was disappointed with my runs. In the first I made a big mistake where a lot of others went out and then I don't want to talk about my second run."
Small will now look ahead to another three World Cup events as she makes her final preparations towards what will likely be her second Olympic appearance at PyeongChang 2018.
A quick break over Christmas has alpine speedster Greta Small ready for the final charge towards her second Olympic appearance at PyeongChang 2018.
The 22-year-old who made her Olympic debut at Sochi begins a busy final month of training and competing on Tuesday when she lines up in Austria.
"It was nice to have some days off around Christmas to recover and recharge before starting training again just before the new year," Small said.
"Although it's been non-stop snowing in Europe, meaning a lot of powder and not good conditions for training, I'm feeling good and happy to get at least some training in before the racing starts again."
Small will begin her campaign in Innerkrems in the European Cup where she will line up in two Super G events and an Alpine Combined race.
From there Small will get her last chance to take on the world's leading skiers prior to PyeongChang when she hits the World Cup circuit.
"I will be racing the speed events (Downhill and Super G) at World Cup events in Cortina, Lenzerheide and Garmisch.
"I'm feeling strong and ready to put down some solid fast skiing."
The Innerkrems European Cup starts on Tuesday evening AEDT and runs through to Thursday.
ALPINE SKIING: Australia’s leading alpine skier Greta Small has continued her return from injury after competing at the St Moritz World Cup over the weekend.
Small, who is on track to make her second Winter Olympic appearance come February, lined up in the women’s Super G on Saturday.
Skiing against the world’s best, Small claimed 46th in the field of 60 with a time of 1:05.56.
It was home town favourite Jasmine Flury of Switzerland who claimed the victory with a time of 1:02.59 ahead of teammate Michelle Gisin and Liechtenstein’s Tina Wierather.
Looking to get more time on the snow following her recent return from an ACL injury, Small was no doubt disappointed when the Ladies Super G and Alpine Combined events were cancelled due to inclement weather on Sunday.
She will have wait until next weekend to get back racing again when the World Cup circuit heads to Val d’Isere in France.
Australia’s leading female alpine skier Greta Small has made a successful return to World Cup competition over the weekend after a long injury layoff.
Small lined up in two Downhill events, as well as a Super G at the Lake Louise World Cup in Canada, successfully completing all six of her runs.
There were plenty of positives for Small, with the 22-year-old making a strong improvement from her first Downhill event to her second.
In the opener she claimed 50th, 6.15 seconds off the pace of first placed Cornelia Huetter, before improving to 43rd in the second event, just 3.01 seconds behind USA gun Mikaela Shiffrin who claimed a rare Downhill victory.
"I'm feeling really good to be racing again," Small said.
"My first Downhill race was really conservative and I was just glad to get the first run down in flat light and fog.
"The second Downhill I made improvements and skied with mistakes to be +3.01 seconds behind with 10th recorded speed of the day 128.5km/h."
She backed those results up with a 40th place finish in the Super G, coming in 3.99 seconds behind victor Tina Weirather of Liechenstein.
"Today’s Super G had some good and bad skiing, I was 9th through the mid section of the course onto the flats then a massive mistake on Claire’s corner cost me.The course workers did a fabulous job the track was perfect, icy and fast."
The event wasn't without some unforeseen difficulties though.
"On Saturday there was a big saga after the transformer at the Lake Louise power station caught on fire which shut down all lifts and power to the resort, I was stuck on the chairlift for more than one and a half hours.
"The Lake Louise World Cup organisers were absolutely incredible to pull off the race with only a one hour delay, all athletes got towed by cats (snow vehicle) to the start."
The Sochi 2014 Olympian has had a tough past 24 months with three injuries ensuring she has limited time competing against the world’s best.
She does however appear to be back on track and pushing for her second Olympic appearance in PyeongChang.
Small will now head to St Mortiz for the second series of World Cup events.
Fellow Australian and PyeongChang 2018 hopeful Dominic Demschar lined up in two FIS Giant Slalom events at Copper Mountain in Colarado where he finished third and sixth.
Demschar also represented Australia at Sochi 2014 and will be aiming to make the tech events - Giant Slalom and Slalom - for the 2018 Winter Games.
It might have been a tough couple of years for Alpine speedster Greta Small but the 22-year-old is ready to put it all behind her as she begins her run towards PyeongChang this weekend.
Small was one of the stories of the Sochi 2014 Games when she lined up in all five alpine events and claimed one of the nation’s best ever results when she finished 15th in the Super Combined at just 18.
It’s been a rugged run since Sochi, with the past two winter seasons being cruelled by injuries that have kept her off the snow for extended periods.
The latest of those saw Small rupture her ACL at the start of 2017 but now almost 12 months later she will hit the start gate for her first competition back.
“This weekend is my first races back racing two Downhills and a Super G World Cup in Lake Louise, Canada,” Small said.
“Since it is still early on and I haven’t spent much time on snow during the past year of rehab, I’ll really be using this week in Lake Louise as training to build on for the race season.”
Small spent a number of months at the Australian Institute of Sport rehabbing her injury before getting back on snow in September.
After some time on the slopes in Australia, New Zealand and Austria she is confident she is ready to hit the snow as PyeongChang 2018 edges closer.
“My body is in good shape and I just need to focus on my skiing execution now.
“I’m really excited and happy to be back amongst the tour and trying to go fast.”
Small made her Olympic debut in Sochi where she was the youngest, if not close to the youngest, in each of the Downhill, Super G, Super Combined, Slalom and Giant Slalom events she lined up in.
Along with her 15th in the Super Combined, she claimed 29th in the Downhill, 31st in the Slalom, 41st in the Giant Slalom and a DNF in the Super G.
A season ending injury for Australia’s top female Alpine skier Greta Small mid-January in Korea put paid to her left knee, but on the up side has renewed her determination to make her second Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang next February.
“I’m very familiar with PyeongChang because I’ve competed there a number of times plus my father Boyd (and coach) has worked in Korea for the past ten to twelve years,” Small said.
“The slopes are really good – definitely challenging, that’s for sure. I know what I’m in for.”
It won’t only be the slopes challenging Small this coming season. The January crash required surgery to her left knee for the third time in two years, making the window for Olympic qualification later this year all that much narrower.
“I did my ACL and it’s a six to twelve-month recovery, but it’s going well so far. I’m looking to get onto snow in Australia in July or August, return to full training in September and compete in December.”
“Qualification is the tricky part, but I have no doubts in my mind that I will be in PyeongChang competing,” she said.
The upbeat 21-year-old’s sporting CV is impressive with a 15th in Sochi in the Super Combined, Australian Flagbearer at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012 and a placing of 18th in the 2015 World Championships.
Small bases her training from Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Zanna Farrell and Liam Michael have rounded out their Asian Winter Games campaigns with top ten finishes in their respective slalom events in Sapporo.
Farrell backed up her fifth place finish in the giant slalom on Thursday by claiming eighth, while Michael was ninth after a seventh place result in his earlier event.
After clocking 54.08 in her first run, conditions on the course worsened with Farrell clocking 59.19 to be just over 11 seconds back from gold medallist Emi Hasegawa of Japan. Asa Ando of Japan and Young-seo Kang of Korea rounded out the women’s podium.
"The conditions did make it tough [on the second run], but I think it was more me - you can't blame the hill," Farrell said on reflection.
"I didn’t ski amazingly today, but I was pretty happy overall," she said.
Michael ranked ninth in both his first (50.62) and second (54.17) runs to finish just under eight seconds behind Korea’s Dong-hyun Jung with his teammate Hyeon-tae Kim winning silver and Hideyuki Narita of Japan taking home bronze.
Although his first run didn't quite go to plan, Michael was please with his ability to turn it around and produce a strong second run.
"In the first run I came down and I knew I had made some mistakes," Michael said.
"My coach and I, we reviewed after my first run and worked out some tactics for the second run to go over, and basically on the second run I executed them on a different course that was more suited to me.
"I executed what I needed too and my second run was a lot better - a lot faster - which felt good."
Michael said his entire Asain Winter Games experience has been an incredible opportunity.
"I’m pretty happy to put down a good run on the highest event stage of my career," he said.
"I found this event a big one, probably the biggest event I've been to to date."
Farrell agreed: "Overall it’s been extraordinary, amazing to be here and amazing to be here with such a good team.
"Being in Japan is pretty cool, as well competing alongisde World Cup athletes is amazing. It’s definitely showed me another world, and it’s really sparked something in me."
Matt Bartolo/Georgia Thompson
Amid a picture perfect backdrop Australia’s Liam Michael has finished seventh in the men’s Giant Slalom at the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games.
Conditions couldn’t have been better for the 44 starters from 18 nations and were in stark contrast to what the field experienced a day earlier when training was abandoned due to poor visibility and wind.
Not knowing what to expect, 17-year-old Michael chose to take a conservative approach on his first run.
“My training run on the arena didn’t go so great through the middle section, the snow changed on me so I wasn’t expecting that,” Michael said.
“After my first run in the gates I built up a confidence to stand on it when you come over that knoll. That really helped me try and go for it more. I went for it more and it turned out better.”
Michael’s first run of 1:11.27 seeded him ninth for run two and in his second run he stopped the clock in a time of 1:12:35.
“Really happy with seventh,” he said.
“I know the top (ranked) athlete, he’s a really good skier and he’s had some past good results and his points are low. There’s a few guys on World Cup or edging on World Cup so it’s good to have some experience with those guys.”
Wearing the green and gold was a momentous occasion for Michael who hails from Manly but lives in Park City, Utah.
"I've never worn an Australian suit before, it was awesome to pull on what the Olympians wear, I'm really proud and excited to be here,” he said.
The Asian Winter Games Alpine Skiing competition continues Thursday with Zanna Farrell in action in the Women’s Giant Slalom. Michael will be back in action at Sapporo Teine on Friday in the men’s Slalom event.
Cross Country skiers Casey Wright and Jackson Bursill are in Sapporo preparing to represent Australia at the Asian Winter Games.
After two training sessions on the competition track the young skiers like what they see.
22-year-old Wright is feeling good after strong performances at the Cross Country Skiing World Junior/Under 23 Championships but this event takes her competition experience to a whole new level.
“This is amazing, this is the most organised and biggest event I think I’ve ever been to,” Wright said.
“I’m blow away by the experience of being here in Japan and the culture difference, I’m loving it.
“I’m racing against people I’ve never raced against before so it’s a bit of an unknown field for me. I’m really looking forward to it and seeing what could happen.”
Wright, a student of the University of Alaska (Anchorage) is also a member of the school's ski team.
“I love it, it’s my home away from home,” she said.
“When I think of Alaska I think of home but I definitely miss Australia. I miss the familiarity of everything.”
Rather than return to Australia for the southern hemisphere winter, Wright chose to continue her training in a more temperate climate.
“I think it’s really helped me set up for this season and having the performances that I’m having.
“We don’t necessarily need to be on snow to train, so we do a lot of roller skiing, running and riding.
“The majority of my summer was spent roller skiing and running in the mountains. It’s really nice to be doing things other than skiing the entire year.”
While Wright is in the thick of the competition season, Jackson Bursill has taken time out from the snow.
“I took December and January off to train in Australia. I did a couple of big bike rides, it was about finding my passion again after seven years of travelling the world cup circuit and competing at world championships.
“I found I had reached a point where I wasn’t making the next step so I decided to try something different, so I trained in the heat, did a lot of running and a lot of other things to get my head in a good space.”
“Now I’m back here, adapting and getting back onto the skis again.
Bursill has been training on roller skis and his first days in Sapporo have been spent adjusting to the snow.
“It isn’t too hard to transition back to the skis from the roller skis but there are a few things you need to work on.
“When you’re on the roller skis you’re on pavement so you tend to sit back a little bit when you’re doing the double poling technique because you don’t want to fall on the pavement but when you’re on the snow you can afford to get forward because if you fall its only snow.”
The Asian Winter Games Cross Country Skiing competition commences with the 1.4km men’s and women’s sprint on Monday 20 February.
Sochi 2014 Olympian Greta Small has kicked off the new year in spectacular fashion with a series of strong results in France.
Small put down her best ever FIS point performance when she won the Slalom event in Sainte Foy Tarentaise.
The 21-year-old was second after the first run before winning the event by 0.01 seconds in a combined time of 1:38.77 ahead of France’s Lea Chapuis and Josephine Forni.
The win came off the back of a number of strong performances for Small in Tignes, France in a matter of days.
She opened the new year with a sixth and eighth place finish in the Super G events before claiming ninth and then fourth in the Downhill.
Small will look to secure another victory in the second and final Slalom competition in Sainte Foy Tarentaise tomorrow.
At just 18 Small competed for Australia in all five alpine events in Sochi, securing her best result with a 15th place finish in the Super Combined.
The results will be a big confidence boost as Small begins to qualify for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games which are just over a year away.
OWIA Alpine Skiing athlete Greta Small has been working hard rehabilitating her knee at the AIS in Canberra.
Greta has trained intensively with AIS S&C and Medical staff making strong progress from knee surgery at the end of the 2014-2015 international season.
The aim for Greta is to resume on snow training during December.
By Ski & Snowboard Australia Alpine Skiing Program Director Brad Wall
The team selected to represent Australia at the 2015 Alpine World Junior Ski Championships at Hafjell (NOR) Mar 5-13 was comprised of 4 National Team Athletes selected in line with the published SSA Selection Criteria. The athletes were supported by 4 coaches and staff throughout the Championships.
OWIA athlete Greta Small was the only female and the most experienced athlete on the team competing in her fourth World Junior Championship. Greta had some very solid results and some moments of fantastic skiing. One of the highlights was Greta’s winning run in the SL leg of the Alpine Combined that elevated her from 33rd after the SG run to 11th overall. Greta had the following results: GS 18th, SL 23rd, AC 11th, SG 33rd, DH 18th.
Three male athletes competed in the technical events for Australia. Alec Scott competed his second World Junior Championships. While Alec did not perform to his full potential he had some very positive signs. In the first run of the GS Alec had a strong split time and skied the difficult sections very well, unfortunately he fell before the final finish pitch. In the SL Alec struggled in the softer snow that developed deep grooves however he mustered a promising 6th place finish for the U18 athletes.
Harry Laidlaw competed in his first World Junior Championships but unfortunately was a DNF in both the GS and SL events. Just like Alec, Harry had very strong splits in the GS but could not hold on to cross the finish line for two consistent runs.
Daniel Demschar competed in his second World Junior Championships. Daniel unfortunately also fell short of his potential. He finished 56th in the challenging GS and failed to finish the second run of his preferred discipline SL.
The 2015 World Junior Championships were a test event for next year’s Youth Olympic Games. All alpine events to be contended next year will be on the same slopes as this year’s World Junior Championships. The race hills are long and very challenging and are a great venue for these caliber events. The organizing committee did an excellent job and we look forward to returning to Hafjell for next year’s Youth Olympic Games.
IMAGE: Greta Small in action
ALPINE SKIING ARCHIVE