It was a huge night for Australia in Beijing last night as the country took not one but two Winter Olympic medals on the same day. Tess Coady started with bronze in snowboard slope style then it was gold come sun down under the mogul lights.
New Olympic champion Jakara Anthony took women’s moguls into a new league after crushing the competition to end Australia’s 12-year Winter Olympics gold-medal drought.
The 23-year-old led the two-day competition through every round and then scored 83.09 points to comfortably win the six-woman super final to earn gold on Sunday.
American Jaelin Kauf (80.28) was a surprise second while Russian Anastasiia Smirnova (77.72) collected bronze ahead of defending Olympic champion Perrine Laffont.
After finishing fourth on her Olympic debut four years ago in PyeongChang, Anthony identified the air component as the weakness in the women’s competition.
Through Beijing, she was the only skier – and the first women in Olympic competition – to include a ‘cork 720 mute’ jump, with the higher degree of difficulty giving her an edge on her rivals.
She completed the jump around 2000 times in practice at the newly-built water ramp training facility in Brisbane before using it in her competition run.
“My top air jump is called a cork 720 mute,” she said, explaining that the cork is the off-axis rotation, 720 is two rotations and the mute is the way she grabbed her skis.
“I started competing that just this season.
“That’s my highest degree of difficulty and it’s pretty special and I think I might be the first girl at the Olympics to have competed one so that’s pretty special.
“The women’s aerial packages have progressed so much since PyeongChang – it’s like night and day – and I will definitely be looking to continue to progress my own and keep pushing everyone else.”
Anthony said she wasn’t driven by having finished fourth in the 2018 Games because she felt she had skied to her potential then.
But she knew that four years later she was capable of much more.
“To have gone number one in every round is incredible. I know that I’m capable of skiing like that and I was able to let myself do that and something I take a lot of pride in,” the Victorian said.
“When I crossed the line I was like, whatever happens now I’m totally content with because I was so happy with that run.
“It was truly my best run on the course and I was really proud of it.
“I thought I’d done enough (to win gold) and if anyone had beaten that run I would have been so stoked for them because it would have been a phenomenal run.”
Anthony started to dream of Olympic gold after watching her teammate Britt Cox ski as a 15-year-old at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
While Cox missed the medals, it was the last time Australia won gold, with Lydia Lassila (aerials) and Torah Bright (snowboard halfpipe) both triumphant.
In her fourth Olympics, Cox finished 14th in Beijing and said she was unsure if she would ski on or look to retire.
Anthony said Cox had guided her to gold.
“To have Britt as a teammate, she’s truly a phenomenal athlete and phenomenal person and I’m so proud of what she’s been able to achieve over her career and to share that with her has been so incredible.”
Anthony’s victory marked the first time in Winter Olympics history that Australia had won more than one medal on a single day after Tess Coady claimed bronze in the women’s snowboard slopestyle earlier on Sunday.
Anthony said she couldn’t wait to celebrate with her Australian teammate.
“I’m so stoked for Tess – I was trying not to get too caught up in the hype because I had my own competition but I will definitely be hanging out with her.”
All you need to know about Jakara Anthony and more.