PREVIEW: Dale Begg-Smith in action on Day 3
10 February 2014
FREESTYLE – MOGULS: Australia’s most successful Winter Olympian, Dale Begg-Smith will be going for Gold in the Men’s Moguls on Monday.
The 29-year-old won this event at Torino 2006 and came second at Vancouver 2010.
Begg-Smith returned to the World Cup circuit in December 2013 after more than three years away from competition. His best effort was a fifth place at Ruka in Finland – a remarkable achievement after such a long break from the sport.
"I think I always had it in the back of my mind that I would at some point want to return. My body was breaking down at that point. I figured that I would take some time away and really work on some physical things at the gym," Begg-Smith said upon his arrival in Sochi.
Begg-Smith’s main rivals will be Canadian teammates; defending Olympic Champion Alexandre Bilodeau and reigning World Champion Mikael Kingsbury.
Kingsbury and Bilodeau have split the six World Cup events this season, with three victories apiece. But at 26, Bilodeau has announced this will be his last Winter Olympics.
If either Begg-Smith or Bilodeau wins, they’ll become the first Freestyle skier to claim two Olympic Gold medals.
Australia is well represented in this event, with Begg-Smith’s success inspiring the next generation of Moguls skiers, making their Olympic debut at Sochi 2014: Matt Graham, Brodie Summers and Sam Hall.
Graham has performed consistently this season, Summers’ entry to these Olympics came down to his last race and Hall comes into Sochi 2014 having missed out on Vancouver 2010 by one place.
All four men will be hoping to get through the qualification rounds, to progress to the three rounds of finals.
"Then from there I will probably try and bump it up a little bit with the speed and the jumps and see where it takes me,” Graham said after training on Sunday night.
“I'd like to get through a few rounds and head towards the top six. That would be a good goal for me."
The Men’s Moguls gets underway at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at 6pm local time (1am AEDT Tuesday).