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Begg-Smith's 'good chance' at history

14 February 2010

Australian mogul skiing fans will be hoping Dale Begg-Smith can emulate the feats of Finnish star Janne Lahtela when he lines up at the top of the course on Cypress Mountain tomorrow.

Lahtela blew out his knee in the spring of 2001 but came back to win gold at Salt Lake 2002, adding the ultimate prize to his World Championship and World Cup titles.

Begg-Smith goes into the Vancouver moguls as a gold medal favourite following three World Cup wins and two silver medals in January, but freestyle history shows that no-one has won back-to-back gold.

Added to that, at least two of the rivals the 25-year-old Australian faces have also been in great form.

Swedish skier Jesper Bjoernlund has won twice on this year’s tour, and French star Guilbaut Colas has also collected two victories and silver.

With the Canadian freestyle fanatics urging him on, you also can’t rule out defending World Cup champion Alexandre Bilodeau.

Australian mogul skiing head coach Steve Desovich believes Begg-Smith is well-placed to deal with whatever Cypress throws at athletes tomorrow.

“Historically he’s very good at adapting to situations and I imagine that this time, if he continues to be tuned in, he’ll have a good chance for a good performance.”

Ramone Cooper will complete his own extraordinary return from a knee injury tomorrow.

Cooper has trained strongly since arriving in Vancouver, with team doctor Peter Braun delighted at his progress.

“His knee is good,” Braun said.

“He’s been wearing a brace that DonJoy made for him, and he has adapted to it really well.”

“He’s had to make a couple of changes to his style, but he’s done that and he is really happy with everything now.”

Sunday’s event is scheduled with qualification to commence at 1530 (1030 AEDT Monday). The top 20 will then contest the final at 1830 in reverse order with the highest ranked to ski last. The scores from qualification do not carry over

Barry White
AOC – Cypress Mountain

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