The dream is about to become a reality for two young mogul skiers in the Australian team, Jackson Harvey and George Murphy, who are set to make their World Cup debut in Ruka, Finland, this weekend.
“I've been dreaming of standing in a World Cup start gate since I was probably 8 years old, so the excitement I'm feeling leading into my debut event is electric,” said Harvey, who at 20 years of age is the oldest of the two athletes. He added that as a kid he used to watch World Cup events with a sense of awe at the insane level of mastery of the sport.
“Now, I have a chance to earn my wings and establish myself at this level, so I'm pretty stoked!” he said.
Together with his teammate Murphy, who is 19, the pair have been training hard during the domestic season and in preparation for the European winter, focusing on key aspects of the discipline and the technical elements of both skiing and jumping.
Under the guidance of coaches Peter McNeil and Kate Blamey, Harvey able to notch his personal best FIS result at the Australian National Championships, claiming the second place overall behind his idol (and now teammate) Matt Graham.
“I've made some pretty substantial adjustments to my approach to training and have seen huge improvements in my technical execution of acrobatic skills and on snow performance,” Harvey said.
Murphy too had very positive results in the Australia/New Zealand Continental Cup (ANC) and at the ABOM Mogul Challenge, taking out the Junior category (U20) in both events and achieving top 10 results in Open Divisions against a competitive field.
“I was really happy with my progression over the recent domestic season,” Murphy said. “I feel as though I was able to bring it all together.”
The young Aussies have been working off snow as well, focusing on the necessary conditioning to compete at elite level and trying to make the most of the off-season, in order to give themselves the best chance to succeed in their first World Cup campaign.
“I'm extremely proud of how I've adapted to this new lifestyle and embraced the challenges of training with the best mogul skiing program in the world,” continued Harvey.
Murphy said he is also happy with the leaps he has made in the gym after working closely with his strength and conditioning coach, Janina Stratus. “Throughout the year it has allowed me to push my physical strength. This has been a catalyst in helping me develop my skills on snow and consistently complete top to bottom runs,” he said.
Even though the two mogul talents have been working hard to be ready for their World Cup debut in Ruka, managing expectations will be key as they approach their rookie season. They are both cognizant that their focus should be on getting experience of the competitive environment at that level, familiarising themselves with the reality of being elite athletes and learning how to stay healthy and focused while travelling and competing.
“I have not set any expectations,” confirmed Murphy. “I just want to go out there, show the world the work that I’ve put in throughout this year and have fun along the way.”
Similarly, Harvey is approaching the World Cup season without any objective goals in terms of results, concentrating on improving his skills and refining his craft, instead.
“For me, success this year means enjoying the privilege of travelling to incredible locations, taking advantage of every training and learning opportunity, and having fun doing what I love,” he said.
As they achieve their dream of competing in a World Cup event, Harvey and Murphy are surrounded by many of the athletes who used to be their idols just a few years ago, and still are role models they look up to.
“Since I started watching the FIS World Cups from a young age, I have always followed and looked up to Matt [Graham] and it is awesome to get the chance to get in the gate with him this weekend,” Murphy confessed.
“Being able to train closely alongside high achievers in my sport including Matt, Jakara [Anthony] and Cooper [Woods] over the past year has really inspired me to push myself to work as hard as they do.
“Even now it still feels a little surreal to be training alongside them everyday,” echoed Harvey.
“Matt has given me valuable tactical advice to help me manage the difficult course here in Ruka, and Jakara has been a great source of knowledge for nutrition and recovery strategies.
“I'm both humbled and thrilled to go to battle with the world class crew that is the Australian moguls team this week - I can't wait to step in the gate!”
The Ruka Moguls World Cup will be held on 3 December with five Aussie athletes competing; Jakara Anthony, Matt Graham, Cooper Woods, Jackson Harvey and George Murphy.
Tune into the finals LIVE from 2am AEDT on Sunday 4 December at https://www.snow.org.au/live/
Article by snow.org.au