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Aussies Just Beat Canada At Their Own Game, And It Was Sweeter Than Maple Syrup

It was a bumpy ride.

30/01/2017 2:39 PM AEDT | Updated 01/02/2017 8:41 AM AEDT
Matt Graham Facebook

Steve and Debbie Graham just had a feeling something was up.

Their son Matt, a mogul skier, was competing in a World Cup event at Calgary, Canada early Sunday morning Australian time. They were in bed with the laptop and the iPad, monitoring the live results, as they often do when their son competes.

"It's cheaper than jumping on a big aeroplane," Steve told The Huffington Post Australia. We just felt Sunday was different. We felt more nervy, more anxious than usual."

With good reason. Graham, 22, won the event. It was his second win on the moguls World Cup tour and his first this season after some promising early season results. It was also the first time he'd skied last -- an honour afforded to the skier with the best score in the round before the final.

Here are the winning runs of Graham and Britt Cox, the Aussie who took the women's title to make it an Aussie double.

Just look at Matt ski. So calm, so cool. So smooth. You'd barely know he was racing down knee-jarring two metre icy humps. This kid -- who finished one spot out of the final in 7th at the Sochi Winter Olympics -- has come a long way fast.

And it wasn't even his best run of the day by his on estimation. That came in the run which qualified him for the final.


Like Graham, Britt Cox is also 22. She also narrowly missed the Sochi Winter Olympic podium but now appears to be peaking as an athlete.

Did this twin Aussie victory on Canadian soil (or snow, anyway) in an event the Canadians absolutely dominate make Canada happy? It did not. Canadian athletes took silver both the men's and women's events. It was the equivalent of Canadian upstarts coming over here and winning an Aussie surf carnival.

Mogul Skiing Academy Facebook page

Graham, to his credit, was really generous towards the guy he beat, Canadian Michael Kingsbury, who was gunning for an amazing seventh straight win in Calgary. "He's a really good athlete and a really good friend of mine, so it's nice to let everyone know he's only human," Graham told Canadian media.

But there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Matt Graham's story has its origins with his dedicated parents Steve and Debbie, who used to drive their son six hours to Perisher ski resort to train just about every winter weekend.

He also has support from Australia's Olympic Winter Institute, whose athletes are doling amazing things all over the world right now. In just the latest win, Aussie Scotty James won snowboard halfpipe gold at the X Games in Aspen last week. That's as big as it gets outside of the Olympics.

But Graham has another ace up his sleeve as he heads towards the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. It's Dale Begg-Smith, the mogul skier who moved from Canada to Australia in the mid 2000s, gained citizenship and won gold for Australia at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino (Turin), Italy.

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Aussie Dale just got himself an OAM too.

Remember him? Begg-Smith was a controversial figure because of his business interests which involved internet advertising. He reportedly became independently wealthy at a young age.

Before Sochi 2014, Begg-Smith was eventually found to to be living in the Cayman Islands, a well known Caribbean tax haven. He has often been portrayed as aloof and self-interested. But guess what? Turns out he's been mentoring Matt Graham.

"Dale continues to work with Matt more so than ever," Steve Graham told us. "He is still heavily involved and talks to Matt directly. It's the master and the apprentice."

We all know how that story works out, right? The apprentice eventually becomes the master and all that. Here's hoping, anyway. Begg-Smith will reportedly be in Deer Valley, Utah, this coming weekend mentoring both Matt and Britt Cox at the next World Cup event.



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