Graham and Anthony are Australia’s big medal hopes for Beijing 2022 with solid FIS World Cup podium experience under their belts.
Anthony has gone on since PyeongChang to up her game with a climb to the top and her lead in season to Beijing has been beyond stellar with eight podium placements on the FIS World Cup circuit. Whilst happy to finish fourth at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Australian moguls skier Jakara Anthony won’t settle for anything but a medal in Beijing.
Both Graham and Anthony will be among the first of the 43-strong Australian contingent in China to get a taste of the Games with the first round of qualifying held at Genting Snow Park tonight.
The women’s event appears a three-way race between French reigning Olympic champion Perrine Laffont, Japanese teenaged sensation Anri Kawamura and Anthony, with the trio jostling to sit atop the World Cup podium this season.
Anthony, 23, produced a career-best performance at those Games to finish just outside the medals but has since developed into a moguls heavyweight.
“PyeongChang was incredible for me to come away with a fourth place – it was a personal best result at the time for me,” Anthony said.
“Four years has passed and I think what’s going to make the difference now is all the work that I’ve done in really focusing on turning weaknesses into strengths.
“I really believe that, especially over the last year, I’ve done everything in my control to put myself in the best position possible.”
The Olympic format for moguls consists of two rounds of qualification and three rounds of knock-out finals.
In the first round on Thursday, all 30 skiers complete the first run with the top 10 skipping the second round of qualification to move through to the first final which will be held over the weekend.
Victorian Anthony prides herself on her consistency, which will be needed if she is to finish on top of the dais on Sunday at the end of the cut-throat competition.
“This has been a very consistent season for me … over the last four years I’ve progressively just stepped up another level,” she said.
“I’m definitely a more mature athlete than I was four years ago in PyeongChang with a lot more experience and a lot more skills and tools.”
Graham has made an impressive recovery from surgery after he snapped his collarbone during competition in December.
The 27-year-old flew back to Australia to recuperate, before resuming his training.
“The fact that it’s a shoulder and not a knee or hip or back – it may not be 100 per cent but I don’t need it to be 100 per cent for me to be able to ski at the level that I need to to be competitive here in Beijing,” Graham said.
“I’m trying to take as many positives from the situation as possible … the month or so leading up to the Olympics can be quite fatiguing mentally and physically, whereas for me this is the first Olympics where I’ve come in completely fresh mentally and physically.”
Canadian Olympic gold medallist Mikael Kingsbury looms large in the men’s field while Japan’s Ikuma Horishima has also been a standout this World Cup season.
FOLLOW THE AUSSIE MOGULS TEAM ROAD TO BEIJING HERE.