Mountainwatch | Press Release
On the busiest weekend of the 2023/24 season so far, Australian athletes have claimed six medals from events held in Asia and throughout Europe.
PARA SNOWBOARD – Landgraaf, Netherlands
First to kick it off was Ben Tudhope who started his Para Snowboard Crystal Globe defence on the indoor slope of Landgraaf.
Ten years after placing fourth on World Cup debut as a 13-year-old in the ‘fridge’, Ben Tudhope lined up for the first of two races on Thursday.
After the first run, Tudhope held a 0.2s lead, however when Emanuel Perathoner was able to improve his time in the second run, the Italian held onto gold just 0.18s in front of the Australian.
In the second race on Friday, Tudhope recorded a DNF on the first run, however he showed the steely resolve which has made him a world champion to blast towards another second place finish and back-to-back World Cup silver medals to open his 2023/24 campaign.
BIG AIR – Beijing, China
The next Aussie athlete to step onto the podium was snowboarder Tess Coady, who had more success in the city where she won slopestyle bronze at the Beijing Olympics.
Coady recorded the best big air finish of her career, taking home a silver medal in the city night event on Saturday. Leading going into the third jump, Coady watched on is competitor after competitor lifted their game to shuffle the standings. Sitting outside the medals going into the last run of the competition, Coady nailed her front 1080 double tail grab to slide into second place behind Austria’s Anna Gaser.
“Super happy with how this competition went in China, I love the jump, it’s one on the best city big airs in the world,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s been a really fun trip, it’s really cool to check out Beijing as last time we were here we didn’t get to see the city.”
Also, in action for Australia was Valentino Guseli in 16th and Joshua Robertson-Hahn in 22nd. In the ski big air competition earlier in the week, Kai Martin was 33rd.
MOGULS – Ruka, Finland
Later in the evening, Olympic gold medallist Jakara Anthony opened her season in the best way possible by claiming moguls gold in Ruka, Finland.
Anthony put in a commanding performance, winning every stage of the competition to record the ninth World Cup victory of her career.
In the super-final medal round, Anthony put down a flawless run to score 84.18 points, with a comfortable victory margin over American paid Elizabeth Lemley (79.68) and Olivia Giaccio (76.35).
“It’s been really awesome to go back-to-back last year and this year here in Ruka and really proud of the way I was able to ski out there and have a lot fun whilst I was doing it,“ said the 25-year-old. “It’s been a little different this year, we are missing Perrine Laffont and Anri [Kawamura], those girls I am usually mixing it up with, but still such a strong field in the women’s and it’s exciting to see everyone out there and pushing it.”
In the men’s event, Matt Graham was seventh, Cooper Woods 16th, Ollie Logan 31st on World Cup debut and George Murphy was 38th.
SNOWBOARD CROSS – Les Deux Alpes, France
Also on Saturday night, Josie Baff and Adam Lambert finished fourth in the Snowboard Cross Team World Cup at Les Deux Alpes in France, with Belle Brockhoff and Cam Bolton combining for fifth.
In the individual event on Sunday, Belle Brockhoff added to the incredible Australian weekend by taking bronze.
Brockhoff moved through the rounds to make the big final and stand on the World Cup podium for the first time in nearly three years.
“It feels great, it was actually a massive relief for me, I have trained so many new things this year like bindings, boards, coach, tech, just everything, just took a risk to change it up and it’s a big relief that its’ working for me so I am very excited,” said 30-year-old Brockhoff. “In the final we all went in pretty hot fighting for that number one position, turn four is really tight and Jana [Fischer] and I got close to each other and just made the best of what we had and it was a really good day for all of us.”
Baff finished third in the small final for seventh place overall, while Mia Clift and Amber Essex were less than 0.2s off qualifying for the top 16.
In the men’s event, Bolton won the small final for fifth place while Jarryd Hughes was 15th in his first competitive hitout since the Beijing Olympics. James Johnstone was 60th on debut, Declan Dent in 62nd and Adam Lambert 63rd.
AERIALS – Ruka, Finland
The freestyle skiers were back in Ruka on Sunday where Danielle Scott claimed Australia’s sixth podium in the space of four days.
It was the 17th podium of Scott’s World Cup career, and a strong start to defending her World Cup title of last season.
“Very happy, would have been nice to make it three wins in a row [in Ruka] but that’s OK,” said the 33-year-old who trains at Brisbane’s Geoff Henke Olympic Winter Training Centre water jump facility.
“I have had a pretty tough week, my legs have been cramping like no other, so it’s been really weird, but to end up on the podium I am super happy.”
“This season is going to be pretty chill for me, just keeping the body healthy doing some nice jumps, just maximising points.”
Laura Peel missed the podium by just half a point to finish in fourth, Abbey Willcox (12th) made the final in her first World Cup in nearly two years while Airleigh Frigo achieved the fourth-highest finish of her career in 17th.