Telluride World Cup

Telluride World Cup
World Cup Canada 1st Place

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Season Update 2013/14

Three years ago I told my dad i wanted to go the Olympics I thought he would just laugh at me but instead he said ‘well then we need a plan’. He came back and said the plan is simple – create a path that leads to an outcome – Olympic qualification!  He told me there is no greater honour than to represent your country and to be selected to compete at an Olympics would be awesome and realistically by the time I was 18 just competing would be enough – but what he also said was; 

“Lets have a plan to have a crack at the Gold, if you do the hard work in the gym and the snow and keep working constantly in the right direction over time you would get to the point of having the opportunity to achieve your goal” 

He worked out the path and every step or race he has been there to navigate the path with me. There have been a few challenges along the way (mostly of my creation) but what he did was believe in me – always, he had trust in me – always, he fought for me – always, he managed the system – always, he has managed politics of my sport for me – always, he created a support structure around me that means I had the best coaches for me, and every year everything was fine tuned. It wasn’t luck that I have had coaches like Peter Baff, Lu Prem Cody Brown, Graham Watanabe and of course Jon Casson – Dad made sure that I only had people around me that believed in me and supported the plan we had. He made sure they understood how I could achieve my goal – I do remember the meeting in Barcelona after winning the Silver medal at Junior World in Sierra Nevada. Dad was sitting with Jon Casson having a beer (he does that) and explaining to Jon what the plan was – Jon was mid beer when Dad said;

"the plan is for Jarryd to go to the 2014 Olympics"

We all got a spray and taste of Jon's beer as he laughed and said ‘WHAT’. But after explaining some of the details of the plan – Jon said ‘Can you afford this?” We will work it out dad said – we will have to make sacrifices, Jon said to me ‘is that what you really want to do”? I said yes – Jon just turned to Dad and said this gonna be one hell of a ride and from that point there has been no question of the plan. This will be my fourth year of being coached by Jon Casson and I am extremely lucky because he has had to make sacrifices so that I could achieve MY goal but every year the program around me just got better. The level of trust and support between Jon, Me and Dad is huge.

Last year seemed to be a tough year, I did my ACL in Russia at the test event, I got boardercrossed out of a lot of races with only a couple of decent results, the goal stayed the same but the program needed to be fine tuned. Dad convinced Jon that we needed more support at World Cups - we needed another coach and a wax tech – Jon was doing everything, coaching, video review, waxing, driving and literally burning the candle at both ends. Jon sorted out the additional coach and dad sorted out the wax tech with the help of NSWIS. – The results speak for themselves this season. Even though doing my ACL was tough - it gave me the opportunity to improve my strength and conditioning. I accessed the best of the resources and facilities of NSWIS as part of my NSWIS scholarship, my Sport Scientist Tom Carter from Sydney University/HumanPerformance and my physio Tim Needham.

I flew into Sochi as a member of the Australian Olympic Team on the 6th February, proud in the knowledge that I earn’t my spot based on my hard work, the results I had achieved and the wonderful support network that I have. 

I have some incredible memories from Sochi

Arrival at Sochi

Opening Ceremony

Supporting my Team Mates

Race Day #1 (postponed due to fog)

Race Day

Well The Result at the Olympics may not have been what I was looking for with 17th, but I come out of the experience knowing that I was competitive, I did my best on the day and proud of my achievement as an Australian Olympian and I learnt a lot about the responsibility of being an Australian Olympian and inspired to have another crack at the Gold

Congratulations to the Winners, Pierre Vaultier - France, Nikolay Olyunin Russia, Alex Diebold USA

This was my first Olympics and as rookie I did not think it appropriate that I make any comments to the media, some might think that “No Comment” is inappropriate but I think dignified silence is sometimes a better option. So a couple of #nocomment responses;

     1.   I have been fortunate to receive funding support;

a.     From the NSW Institute of Sport in the last 2 years which partly funded the costs of my US coach Jon Casson and especially the last 12 months where in addition Jeff Sadis was funded as a shared wax tech between Belle Brochhoff, Daniel Morrissy and me at World Cup up to and including the Olympics

b.     From the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) via the Direct Athlete Support Program (DAS) over the last 2 years. This is facilitated by Ski and Snowboard Australia and is based on my results from the previous season.

At no stage have I made any public comment or comment to the press that I was unhappy about the level of funding I have received as I believe it was appropriate based on my level of performance in the previous 12 months. I was given KPI’s by OWIA to achieve an OWIA scholarship in 2012/2013 – I did not achieve these. My best result was 11th at World Championships in 2013 and I needed to achieve top 10 or a podium at World Cup.

I recognise that a number of World Class and developing Australian Athletes receive little or no funding and I want to make it clear that I appreciate the funding support that I have received.

2.    Alex Pullin is an athlete that I respect but the reality is that when you get to a Professional level in this sport – it is not a team sport.  We are in different programs, have separate coaches, we do not hang out on tour and we have to compete head to head in a fight to the finish. Whatever Chumpy has got – he has earn’t based on his success as a Dual World Champion and one of the most successful Boardercross athletes in the history of our sport – his time will come to win a Medal at the Olympics. Hey it took Pierre Vaultier 3 Olympics!

3.    My parents are my platinum sponsors who have supported me with my snowboarding and made all the sacrifices financially and personally to enable me to achieve my goals. My father is my Program Manager who has worked with me, guided me, created and coordinated my program with Jon Casson to the level that I have won a World Cup, worn the Yellow Jersey as the youngest ever World #1, qualified for the Olympics, and finished my second full World Cup Season as World #4 all this in a sport where the average age is 25yo. 

Junior World Championships Valmalenco Italy

Junior World Championships for Snowboardcross is 19 years and under so I was able to compete this year and will get another crack next season. Two years ago I won Silver at Junior Worlds and last year I could not compete due to my knee injury. I went to Valmaleno, Italy confident I could go one better this year. Things were going well, in the first heat I finished 2nd, in the next heat I won it and moved into the semi final. I was up against some pretty tough competition with last year’s winner Lucas Equibar, a Russian and another up and coming Aussie, Matty Thomas.  Unfortunately over the second jump I got Boardercrossed by the Russian Aleksander Guzachev, Matty finished 3rd and me 4th. We both made it through to the Small final which I eventually won to get 5th place and Matty Thomas 8th overall. Congratulations to the Winner Daniil Dilman from Russia who raced very well all day, Lucas Equibar who finished 2nd and another up an coming rider from France Ken Vaugnoux 3rd. Congratulations also to the Aussie ladies who both qualified for the brackets with Georgia Baff 21st and Elise Turner 32nd.  Also a special mention to Andrew Richardson who is an Aussie who converted to Great Britain this season who finished 35th

For the first time FIS ran a team event at these Junior Worlds and after our results from the individual event Matt Thomas and I were ranked 3rd and felt pretty confident we could do well. We decided that Matt would go first and I would be the second rider. In the first heat Matt started well but got clipped near the finish, luckily he could get up and finished the leg, I was pretty peeved that I was in 4th so had nothing to loose so just unloaded – we ended up winning the heat. In the semi final Matt got off to a good start, he got passed by a couple of riders but finished the leg in 3rd, I took off and again we won the heat. You would think a few of the teams might have changed their strategy, Matt was competitive in the first leg and I chased down whoever in the second. In reality no one was going to beat us that day. In the final it was more of the same, Matt had a great start and finished the leg in 3rd and I was able to mow the field down to win over the line. (Click below to check the race out!)

What a feeling to be in a team and win! A huge congrats to Matt Thomas who showed his class up against a number of World Cup athletes. Also congrats to the Aussie ladies who finished in 8th.  FIS are working to get the Team event into the next Olympics and if it does it will be an awesome addition to Snowboarding at the Olympics!

The Aussie Team of Elise Turner, Matty Thomas, Me and Georgia Baff

Paralympic Snowboardcross Team

This season I had the opportunity to work and train with the Australian Paralympic Snowboardcross Team. This was initially to help my little buddy Ben Tudhope but led to me spending a week with them at the IPC World Cup at Copper Mountain. To work with these guys was inspirational; the level of camaraderie between the Aussie team and all the athletes who compete was wonderful. Matty Robinson was the only one of the Aussie athletes who was competing in the upper limb disability category and he immediately made an impact on me. This was a guy who was involved with getting Para Snowboardcross into the Paralympics but was bot going to compete as the IPC was only including Lower Body Disability athletes at the Paralympics in Sochi. You knew Matty was special just due to the level of respect he had amongst all the athletes and coaches from around the World. Even though he was not going to the Paralympics he was supporting everyone and not holding back with his riding – he was absolutely smashing it (and himself along the way). He was also cheeky, naughty, funny but most of all a great bloke with an outlook on life that meant you had nothing to complain about.

Matty Robinson
Some people would know that Matty passed away just before the Paralympics as a result of an accident he had in the finish area at the La Molina World Cup. Sadly he did not see his beloved event make it’s debut at the Paralympics but he would have been very proud of the event and especially proud of his little protégé Ben Tudhope who rode three perfect runs to finish an incredible 10th as the youngest ever Winter Paralympian and was also given the honour of carrying the Australian Flag in the Closing Ceremony.

Personally I wanted to win the World #1 Title at the last World Cup in La Molina and dedicate it to Matty, but I did not realize how it would affect me riding in La Molina and I think I went a little too hard and then crashed out in the time trial and for the very first time missed the brackets at a World Cup ending my quest for the end of year title of World #1 – I finished 4th overall which I am still extremely proud of.

Matty I might not have won the title for you but I gave it a pretty good nudge!

Montafon World Cup – 8th
Lake Louis World Cup – 1st
Andorra World Cup #1 – 9th
Andorra World Cup #2 – 11th

Olympic Games – 17th

Veysonnaz World Cup – 11th
La Molina World Cup – 44th
Overall World Cup Season - 4th

Junior World Championships Individual – 5th
Junior world Championships Team Event – 1st

I am sure Matty is looking down from heaven with a smile on his face and would be saying in his typical cheeky way

“Well you better bloody go harder next year”
(And I will)

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has believed in me, supported me and helped me over the last 4 years.

My Mum and Dad, Jon Casson who has been with me for 4 years through the good and the bad, Lu Prem, Cody Brown, Graham Watanabe, Jeff Sadis (Wax Bear), my Team mates Jenna Feldman, Mick Dierdorff, Torah Bright, Ben Bright, Belle Brockhoff , Scotty James, my idols Seth Wescott, Nick Baumgartner, Pierre Vaultier, my support team Hagan McCreath, Tom Carter, Tim Lahey, Tim Needham,  Peter Baff, Abbi Nyberg, Beth Banning, Chloe Banning, Ferry Lee, my Grandparents and my extended family and supporters.