Q&A with Winter Olympic medallist, Matt Graham

University of Newcastle student Matt Graham has taken the world by storm, winning silver in the Men’s Moguls at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Navigator writer, Sarah James, sat down with the World No. 3 mogul skier to find out what it takes to become an Olympic champion, as well as find time to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)/Bachelor of Business.

 

NAV: How did you get involved with mogul skiing?

MG: I got involved with Mogul skiing when I joined the Perisher Winter Sports Club Program when I was 7 years old.

NAV: Were you worried when you first started studying at the University it would jeopardise your skiing career?

MG: Being a Winter Sport Athlete I knew that I was going to miss a lot of university due to my training and competing commitments. I knew this was always going to be a hurdle when it came to my studies but I was confident that I could manage both university and sport. It is something that was ingrained into me going through high school as I missed a lot of school growing up, so I was used to being proactive and talking to my teachers and teaching myself.

NAV: You’ve achieved a staggering 12 World Cup podium finishes – how on Earth do you manage to juggle training with studying?

MG: When it comes to managing training and studying, I try to manage my time well. I believe it is much easier these days to manage sport and studies as everything can be provided online, so as long as I am connected to the internet, I can keep up to date!

I have been a part of the University of Newcastle Elite Athlete Program since I commenced my studies in 2014. I have been able to utilise the facilities provided by the University to maximise my time on campus. I have been able to workout at the strength and conditioning facilities during study breaks.

NAV: You’re currently studying a double degree in a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)/Bachelor of Business – where are you hoping this degree takes you?

MG: My goal once I finish my double degree and my skiing career will be to enter the Civil Engineering field. It is something I have been passionate about for a long time.

NAV: So what’s next for you? Will we be seeing you in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing? 

MG: I am definitely committed to skiing for Australia once again at the Olympic Games in four years time in Beijing. I still have a long way to go in my double degree in Civil Engineering and Business and I still have a lot to prove in mogul skiing. In the short term, my main focus for the next twelve months will be to win the World Championships next February in Deer Valley, Utah. I am trying not to think about the 2022 Games yet as they seem so far away, I am trying to focus on the shorter term as I believe that is the best way for me to get motivated and increase my urgency to get better.

NAV: After a fantastic Olympic result, have you headed straight back into training or are you getting some downtime?

MG: After the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, I had a few weeks of skill training, but I am now back into my off-season preparations downtime in Melbourne. I want to use this time to keep pushing myself and trying to get better.

NAV: How do you spend your spare time outside of skiing? 

MG: Being from the Central Coast, I love the beach and the water. So when I am home and have some spare time, I love to go out and get into some sailing, water-skiing and wakeboarding, and also going out for a surf!

 

Feature image photo credit: The Mogul Skiing Academy