Jakara Anthony triumphs with freestyle moguls gold medal in Beijing

Jakara Anthony triumphs with freestyle moguls gold medal in Beijing

February 6, 2022

Zhangjiakou: Jakara Anthony has won Australia’s first gold medal of the 2022 Winter Games, storming through the field in the women’s moguls to become an Olympic champion.

Anthony qualified first for the final and never let go, capping off a dominant display under lights in Zhangjiakou, 200 kilometres outside Beijing.

Jakara Anthony has won the gold in the women’s freestyle moguls.Credit:Getty Images

Her score of 83.09 took her past the US’s Jaelin Kauf on the final run. The 23-year-old did it on her final run in a time of 27 seconds, with a 720 grab on the first jump and a flip on the second. The girl from Barwon Heads carved up her first and second journey’s down the icy incline – finishing her first run in 27.7 seconds and crossing, flipping and almost sitting on her skis while airborne on her way down.

Freestyle moguls tests skiers ability to combine technical turns, aerial gymnastics and speed down a bumpy 250-metre vertiginous slope. Anthony did it in -18 degrees in the middle of a mountain range dividing Beijing from the Mongolian Plateau.

Others did not make it. Canada’s Justine Dufour-Laponte wept as she made her way down the mountain. Left stranded without a pole after tripping and crashing into a mogul, she waited until one could be retrieved, determined to finish a run that she had spent four long years preparing for.

Anthony’s two-decade journey to Olympic gold took her from Queensland to Mt Buller in Victoria as a four-year old, before joining the skiing club in Perisher in NSW. On Sunday, she became Australia’s sixth Winter Olympic gold medalist and the first in women’s moguls.

The gold caps off a huge season for the skier after winning back-to-back medals at World Cup events in the US that took her to third in the women’s world cup standings in a COVID-interruped year. The result saw her beat her top world cup rivals Japan’s Anri Kawamura and Perrine Laffont for the biggest prize in the sport.

“It’s been really tough and it’s put a lot of challenges in the last few years,” Anthony said on Friday night ahead of the final. “So to finally have made it here and get to compete is really special.”

Veteran Australian skier Britt Cox, competing at her fourth and possibly last Olympics finished 14th, just outside the top 12 needed to advance to the second round. Sophie Ash capped off the evening for the Australians in 16th after making it through to the final with a score of 72.2 in the final qualifying round on Sunday.

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