With two men’s and women’s events held across the past two days, Matt Graham and Britt Cox both recorded wins as Australia claimed a total of four podium finishes in fields stacked with a host of medal contenders for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Britt Cox finished with silver in the opening event behind world number two Perrine Laffont of France while Olivia Giaccio of the USA claimed the bronze. Aussies Madii Himbury claimed sixth, Nicole Parks was 14th and Taylah O’Neill did not finish.
After a stellar 2016/17 season which saw Cox win seven World Cup gold medals before claiming the top spot at the 2017 World Championships, she added another victory to her tally in Wednesday’s second and final event. Giaccio was again in the medals while rising Australian young gun Jakara Anthony won the bronze medal. Fellow Aussies O’Neill moved up to sixth with Himbury 10th and Parks failed to finish.
“I’m so happy, especially with the win today, but really happy with my performances over the last two days,” said Cox.
“I love competing in Australia and at the Nationals as it gives us a good chance to get back into comp mode midway through the year and see where we’re at.
“It was a really strong field of competition and I love having that pushing me. It’s awesome to have that level out here in Australia especially for the young kids to see and learn from.”
One of the rising stars that will benefit from the competition is Jakara Anthony who was thrilled with her medal-winning performance.
“I’m really excited to have made the podium,” said the 18-year-old.
“I was happy with how I put everything together and I thought it went well for me today.
“I think I’m doing alright at the moment. We’ve had a lot of training this year and have a couple more camps to go to fine tune everything before the World Cup season. Then hopefully I can put together some good results heading into PyeongChang.”
World number three Graham took out Tuesday’s opening men’s event ahead of Canadian guns Mikael Kingsbury and Laurent Dumais while Aussie Brodie Summers did not finish.
It was world number one Kingsbury who climbed to the top of the podium in the second event though ahead of his Canadian teammates Marc Antoine Gagnon and Gabriel Dufresne. Summers claimed fourth, with Graham in sixth.
“I had flashes of brilliance today, a couple of training runs I was really happy with, but the course got tricky in the finals and with the depth in the field you really couldn’t get away with any mistakes out there,” Graham said.
“I’m not as happy as I was yesterday but overall I’m pretty happy with how I’m skiing.”
Graham is now looking forward to making the steady improvements he needs to challenge for World Cup podiums and a prized medal in PyeongChang.
“I need to work on my jumps a lot and hitting jumps 10/10 times with no mistakes and ski a lot cleaner and faster on my turns. There is a lot to work on and a lot to take out of these events.”
While not everything went to script for Summers he pulled out a strong result in the final event.
“It wasn’t quite what I had planned in the start gate but sometimes things don’t go to plan and you have a bit more speed and height and you just have to go with it,” Summers said.
“I was happy I was able to hold on with a much larger top air than I had anticipated, put on a bit of a show for the crowd on the bottom air and then cross the line.
“Overall it was a better performance than yesterday and importantly I feel I’m tracking in the right direction for the Olympics in February.”
After two days of championship skiing the overall winners were Britt Cox in the Ladies and Mikael Kingsbury in the Men’s.
The Australian Moguls team will now have a break from competition before the World Cup season kicks off in Ruka in December.