14/04/2024

Snowboarder Scotty James will be one to watch once again at Beijing 2022. (Photo: OWIA)

Who are the Aussies to watch at Beijing 2022? We've chosen five of the best ahead of the Opening Ceremony, now less than a month away.

With less than a month until the commencement of the Winter Olympics, The Inner Sanctum looks at five Australian athletes to keep an eye on at Beijing.

Matthew Graham

The 27-year-old from Gosford was the runner-up in the men’s moguls event at PyeongChang and faces the challenge of reaching fitness in time for this year’s Games.

Graham suffered a broken collarbone in December, and is in a race against the clock to recover in time for what would be his third Winter Olympics.

Category: Matt Graham
Graham on the slopes. (Photo: Olympic Winter Institute of Australia)

The silver-medallist has been in fine form since the last games when he became just the second Australian to step onto the podium in a moguls event. The only other being the legendary Lydia Lassila, who won both gold and bronze in the moguls.

Graham has been a mainstay in the top five world rankings since 2015, and finished the 2021 season in first place. If he can recover from his injury in time to compete in Beijing then he may be one of Australia’s best chances of not only getting a medal, but going all the way and winning gold.

Scotty James

The 2018 Opening Ceremony flag bearer is set to return for his fourth Winter Olympic Games. James was another medallist at PyeongChang, claiming bronze in the men’s snowboard halfpipe.

Making his debut at the age of 15 at Vancouver, James was the youngest male competitor in 50 years. Since then, he has become one of Australia’s most successful winter athletes.

His bronze medal in 2018 made him the first Australian male to win a snowboard Olympic medal. He has been even more successful outside of the Winter Olympics, though. The 27-year-old has dominated the halfpipe event for a number of years now and has been highly successful in the X-Games.

Scotty James. (Photo: Olympic Winter Institute of Australia)

After the 2018 Olympics, James went on a 12-competition winning streak and became the first snowboarder in history to win three World Championships. That being said, he has been facing fierce competition in the last 18 months and will be determined to be successful in Beijing.

Britteny Cox

Another Winter Olympian that debuted at Vancouver, Britteny Cox was the youngest competitor at those Games at the age of 15. She was also the second youngest athlete ever to represent Australia in the Winter Olympics.

The mogul skier has yet to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, with her best result coming in Sochi when she finished fifth. However, she has had more success in the World Championships, claiming her maiden world title in 2017 to go with her bronze in the World Championship in 2015.

Britteny Cox on the slopes. (Photo: Olympic Winter Institute of Australia)

In 2017 to go with her world title, Cox also won the women’s FIS Freestyle Skiing Crystal Globe, which is given to the freestyle skier who has accrued the most points in any discipline. This is the fourth Winter Olympics for Cox, and at the age of 27, there is still room for her to continue for years to come.

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Breeana Walker

Australia has their very own Cool Runnings story with track-athlete turned bobsledder Breeana Walker set to make her first Winter Olympics appearance in Beijing, just six years after taking up the sport.

Walker, who once received a track and field college scholarship in the United States, will be competing in the two-woman bobsleigh and monobob, a one-person bobsled. The event is making its Winter Olympics debut in Beijing and the 29-year-old is in fine form just a month out from the games.

Walker (middle) on the podium at the IBSF World Cup. (Photo: IBSF)

The Queenslander claimed her fourth consecutive monobob podium of the 2021/22 season on New Year’s Day, finishing second in Latvia. She now currently sits sixth in the World Series and is in red-hot form with only five events until the Winter Olympics.

After being cruelly denied the chance to compete at the 2018 Games, Walker has the chance to become the first Australian to win a medal in a sliding event.

Jarryd Hughes

The 26-year-old from Sydney was one of three Aussies to win a medal in PyeongChang, winning silver at the 2018 games in the snowboard cross.

Hughes comes into the Beijing Games off the back of a great season, winning the World Championship in the mixed snowboard cross alongside fellow Aussie, Belle Brockhoff. The mixed snowboard cross team event is another making its Winter Olympics debut at Beijing.

Hughes also claimed gold in the 2013 World Cup and in the 2016 Winter X Games. However, his career hasn’t been all smooth sailing, with injury regularly plaguing him.

Hughes with his silver medal. (Photo: Olympic Winter Institute of Australia)

The 2018 silver medallist has had six knee surgeries in his career, each time bouncing back from adversity. He will also be nursing an ankle injury heading into Beijing. If he can qualify for this year’s Winter Olympics, it will be his third appearance after making his debut in Sochi at the age of 18.

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