Australia’s Highest Ever Medal Count at World Championships

March 6th, 2023
Valentino Guseli on his way to halfpipe silver in the World Champs on the weekend. Photo: OWIA

Mountainwatch |News

The 2023 Snowboard and Freestyle World Championships wrapped up in Bukuriani, Georgia on the weekend, Tess Coady’s bronze in the snowboard Big Air taking the total medal count for Australian athletes to six.

It is the highest medal count for Australia at a World Championships and was made up of four silver and two bronze.

Yesterday’s bronze also capped off a solid competition for Tess who also qualified for the slopestyle final, narrowly missing the podium by half a point and finishing fourth.

Women’s big air medal winners, L-R: Miyabi Onitsuka (Jap) 2nd, Anna Gasser (Aut) 1st, Tess Coady 3rd. Photo: Fis Snowboarding

Australia sent a team of 22 athletes to Georgia, 11 skiers and 10 snowboarders, the skiers competing in moguls, aerials and freeski (big air and slopestyle) and ski cross while the snowboarders competed in slopestyle, halfpipe, big air, snowboard cross and snowboard alpine.

The medals were split across a number of sports, the silver medals going to Valentino Guseli, (snowboard halfpipe), Josie Baff, (snowboard cross), Matt Graham (moguls) and Danielle Scott (aerials).

Matt Graham was just .92 points behind the winner and defending World Champ Mikael Kingsbury (Can). Matt backed up his silver medal the following day with a bronze in the dual moguls, while Tess Coady’s was the other bronze. Matt has now won medals at the last three World Championships.

It was Josie Baff’s first World Champs, the silver medal part of an excellent 2022/23 season, her second world cup season, which includes a World Cup win in France and a silver in Italy.

Josie Baff, silver in her first World Championships. Photo: FIS/OWIA

There were a number of strong Australian performances in Bukuriani including 5-time Olympian Scotty James who finished fifth in the snowboard halfpipe and Cam Bolton (6th) and Adam Lambert (8th) in snowboard cross. Meila Stalker, competing in her first World Championships, qualified for snowboard slopestyle finals, finishing 11th, while freeskier Abi Harrigan missed out on the finals by one place.

For Guseli the silver medal was the result of another outstanding performance, the 17-year-old putting it all on the line on his third and final run to score 93.0, just behind Chaeun Lee’s (Korea) score of 93.5. At just 16-year-old Lee is the youngest ever snowboard World Champ.

Valentino was also going to compete in the Big Air and slopestyle, but an injury sustained in slopestyle training forced him to withdraw from both to focus on recovering in time for the halfpipe event.

The silver medal is just another achievement in an incredible season for Valentino in which he has won the Big Air World Cup crystal globe and is the first rider in World Cup history to podium in all three of big air, slopestyle and halfpipe events in a single season and earned his first X Games podium in the halfpipe.

To top it off Valentino’s results this season guarantee that he will also walk away with the Park and Pipe overall globe at the final World Cup of the season in Silvaplana.