Matt Graham wins silver as Australia join medals tally

Riley Pettigrew Roar Guru

By Riley Pettigrew, Riley Pettigrew is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Australia have won their first medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics with the Central Coast’s Matt Graham claiming silver at Pyeongchang in the men’s moguls.

    He becomes only the second Australian to be awarded a medal in the event after Dale Begg-Smith claimed gold at Turin 2006 and silver at Vancouver 2010.

    His name will be etched alongside the likes of Begg-Smith, Steven Bradbury, Torah Bright and Lydia Lassila as one of just eleven Australians to have won a medal at a Winter Olympics.

    It has been a long journey to the podium for World No.3 Graham who had originally dreamed of sailing at the Olympics as a member of the Gosford Sailing Club.

    It wasn’t until he joined the Perisher Winter Sports Club mogul program at six that he first got into skiing.

    Graham’s dedication to his Winter Olympics dream saw him make the six-hour journey to Perisher from the Central Coast every Friday, then leaving on Sundays to make it back in time to start the school week at Central Coast Grammar School.

    It was in 2010 when he first got his big break, qualifying for the World Cup as a 15-year-old. Four years later in 2014, he was competing at Sochi finishing seventh just 0.01 points shy of the top six.

    But now the 23-year-old has finally reached the pinnacle qualifying directly for the final, ranking ninth with a score of 77.28, and going on to claim silver after a strong run in the finals.

    It was a cruel night for compatriot Brodie Summers on Sunday who did not start due to a knee injury while Rohan Chapman-Davies and James Matheson both failed to crack the top ten.

    Qualifying 2 saw the Aussies have a shot at redemption, James Matheson taking advantage of the opportunity to qualify for the finals placing tenth with 74.61.

    Chapman-Davies on the other hand finished just outside in twelfth with 73.96 putting him out of contention.

    Starting first in Final 1, Matheson improved on his score with 75.98. Graham ran twelfth with a very clean run posting 81.39 surging him straight into the top twelve as second seed while Matheson’s missed out on Final 2 ranked fourteenth.

    The Final 2 got off to a shock start with South Korean Choi Jae-woo, Ikuma Horishima and first seed Sho Endo all failing to finish. They weren’t the only ones struggling with World No.2 Dmitriy Reiherd posting a horror score of 58.64 as the field looked to post big scores.

    Graham took no chances, pulling off a clean run to secure his place in the top six with 80.01 ranked fourth behind Daichi Hara, Mikaël Kingsbury and Casey Andringa.

    The Super Final saw Canadian Marc-Antoine Gagnon start with a score of 77.02 before Norway’s Vinjar Slåtten crashed out of the podium race

    Graham moved straight to the top of the field with great turns on the run down to pull off a score of 82.57. Graham retained his position with Casey Andringa scoring 75.50 before Canadian World No.1 Mikaël Kingsbury took first place with a massive 86.63.

    Daichi Hara of Japan put on another good run however his air put him behind Graham with 82.19.

    Matt Graham’s silver medal victory is Australia’s first of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

    On night two, Australia came close to medal glory in the women’s moguls with two athletes in the top six.

    Both Jakara Anthony and Britteny Cox eased through to the medal placings after Madii Himbury finished 20th in Final 1 while Claudia Gueli failed to qualify.

    Unfortunately for the Australians they were upstaged by Perrine Laffont of France who claimed gold with a score of 78.65.

    19-year-old Anthony finished in fourth with 75.35 while Cox ended on 75.08 in fifth position.

    Australia still has a number of medal chances as the Winter Olympics continue.

    All eyes will remain on the freestyle skiing field with 2014 silver medallist David Morris competing in the men’s aerials and 2010 gold medallist Lydia Lassila competing in the women’s event.

    Flagbearer Scotty James and snowboard cross World No.1 Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin are also well in contention.

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • February 13th 2018 @ 2:31am
      Maggie said | February 13th 2018 @ 2:31am | ! Report

      “six-hour journey to Perisher from the Central Coast every Friday, then leaving on Sundays to make it back in time to start the school week at Central Coast Grammar School.”

      Great story, what an outstanding result for an Australian from the Central Coast.

    • February 13th 2018 @ 3:16am
      nickp said | February 13th 2018 @ 3:16am | ! Report

      Well done Matt Graham in the moguls!!!

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