Mogul Matt narrowly misses out on super-final
11 February 2014
FREESTYLE – MOGULS: Australian Freestyle skier Matt Graham came agonisingly close to making the super-final of the men’s Moguls at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Monday night local time.
The 19-year-old finished 0.01 of a point behind American Patrick Deneen in Final 2, placing him 7th, one position short of a super-final entry.
“Missing the super-final by that much is pretty heartbreaking, but overall I’m pretty happy with my performance,” Graham said.
Deneen was slightly faster down the course, which ultimately cost Graham the spot.
“I just backed off a little bit on that last run just because I knew a lot of people would be pushing it and there would be a lot of mistakes out there, which there was,” he said.
“Maybe if I just chucked my foot forward on the finish I would have got in.”
Graham was watched on in the crowd by his girlfriend and family.
“When they’re out here you don’t really want to stuff up, because they’ve spent a lot of money to get out here.”
Teammate Brodie Summers was knocked out by defending Olympic Champion Alex Bilodeau (CAN) on the last run in Final 1.
“When it’s [Mikael] Kingsbury and Bilodeau, they’re pretty reliable guys, you know they’re going to put down a performance,” the 20-year-old said of coming 13th.
“It’s a good learning experience and I was happy with my performance tonight, I just made that little mistake on the bottom air and it cost me.”
In the super-final, sentimental favourite Alex Bilodeau won Gold with a near perfect run in his last Olympic Games, scoring 26.31. His teammate Mikael Kingsbury took Silver (24.71) and Russia claimed its first Freestyle medal of the Sochi Games, with Bronze going to Alexandr Smyshlyaev (24.34).
Earlier in the evening, Dale Begg-Smith’s sporting career came to a crashing end when he fell, face first off the bottom air, landing him in 25th place. He was philosophical about his less than successful comeback in unfamiliar soft snow conditions. Fellow Australian Sam Hall also missed out on the finals phase, finishing 24th.
That ends the Moguls competition at Sochi 2014 and despite the Australian team not taking home any medals, they now have three women and four men in the top 20, and two up-and-coming teenagers showing podium potential.