Matt's Blog - I always knew I wanted to be an Olympian
Published 9 October 2017 (AEDT) | Author Matt Graham
My name is Matt Graham. I am a 22 year old Freestyle Mogul skier from the Central Coast of New South Wales.
I represented Australia at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia where I finished in 7th place.
I started skiing at the age of 3 on a family holiday down at Perisher. The first time I skied was shortly after my sister threw me head first into the corner of a wall which resulted in me having six stitches in the centre of my head right above my hairline which I still have the scar today.
My first memory of skiing is of my father pulling me fifty metres up the hill and just letting me go until I stopped or crashed into something, so I had to learn quickly.
Each year, my family would go down to the snow fields for two weeks and ski at Perisher, where my two sisters, my brother and I would attend ski school lessons in the Milo kids and Explorer programs which only took us a few years to outgrow.
My siblings and I joined the Perisher Winter Sports Club program in 2002 when I was 7 years old which is where we got our first taste of moguls.
Back then mogul skiing was different to what it is today. Inverted tricks were only just allowed to be done in competition so the sport changed very rapidly over a short period of time. The best athletes in the world went from competing upright quad twisters and 360’s, to back-double-fulls (a backflip with two rotations) and off-axis 1080’s in the space of a few years.
So in hindsight my parents nailed the timing of my entry into the sport as I was young and I had the time to learn all the new school acrobatic tricks which were now needed in the sport!
My first mogul competitions were at the Regional, State and National Interschool competitions in 2003. The National Interschool Championships that year were held in Mt Hotham and the course consisted of a small jump followed by about twenty-five moguls.
I remember being super nervous in the start gate with butterflies and the sweats, but I told myself that I was just going to go as big as I can off the jump and do the biggest star jump ever! Sure enough, I got way too excited and went far too large on the jump and landed in the moguls and crashed down. I got up and skied out the rest of the run with tears streaming down the inside of my goggles, not because I was in pain, but because I blew my run in front of so many people and I hated losing!
Learning how to lose was something that came later in my sporting life as after that event I didn’t ever want to lose again.
There are now four months until the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and I have devoted my year to training and preparing myself for these Olympic Games.
I will be not long 23 years old and entering my athletic peak as a mogul skier, so these Olympics have been the ones I have set my eyes on ever since I was a kid.
I am studying Civil Engineering at University so consequently I have always liked maths. When I was 8 years old I knew I wanted to be the best skier in the world and represent Australia in the Olympics, so I worked out how old I was going to be at every Olympic Games and back then I was certain I was going to compete in Sochi.
I knew I was going to be young at 19 years of age, so my goal was to be competitive amongst the field. I knew that this would then put myself in a position to have a stab at a medal in Korea as I was going to be old enough to have the skill and experience I needed.
So here I am, nearly 100 days out from the pinnacle event in our sport, I am ranked 3rd in the World, I have ten World Cup podiums to my name including two victories and now I am going to be keeping you updated on my life and progress each month leading up to the Games.
I have a lot coming up, including a ton of training all over the world, a little bit of time at home, and seven World Cup competitions in Europe, Asia and North America.
So follow my journey, it’s going to be a hoot!
From yours truly,
Deanna's Blog - get to know Australia's top female short tracker 6 November 2017 (AEDT) | Deanna Lockett