Woods finds form ahead of Oly Winter Games

Melissa Woods |

While injured Olympic medallist Matt Graham races the clock to be fit for Beijing, rising Australian moguls star Cooper Woods has banked consecutive top 10 performances ahead of the Winter Games.

The 21-year-old finished fifth in the World Cup in Deer Valley in Utah on Friday, backing up a ninth spot last round in Canada, with his form perfectly timed with the Olympic moguls events just three weeks away.

And in another boost for Australia’s medal prospects, Jakara Anthony placed third in the women’s event behind 2018 Olympic gold medallist French skier Perrine Laffont and Japanese teenager Anri Kawamura.

The podium positions were incredibly tight with just 0.46 points between Anthony and first-placed Laffont, who has taken over the overall World Cup lead.

With men’s Olympic champion Canadian Mikael Kingsbury winning back-to-back World Cup events, Woods was the best of the Australian men.

From the tiny town of Pambula on the NSW far south coast, it was his best result in World Cup competition.

Brodie Summers was next highest in 19th spot with James Matheson 24th.

The moguls team will relocate to Ruka, Finland, to wrap up preparations for the Olympics and will be joined by Graham, who has taken a major step forward in his recovery from a broken collarbone.

The Pyeongchang Olympic silver medallist suffered the injury in a training crash in Sweden last month and after surgery to have a plate and screws inserted returned to Australia to recuperate.

He has been training on the purpose-built Winter Olympic water ramp in Brisbane, practising jumps. 

“It’s bizarre being here in an Australian summer only 22 days out from my Olympic competition, but exciting too,” Graham said. 

“It’s super important and beneficial to be able to use this facility and there is nowhere else in the world you can do this right now.”

The 27-year-old said he had stepped up his training, with the shoulder holding up.

“I put the shoulder through the paces, getting in the air again to regain that confidence,” Graham said.

“I went through the skills I’ll perform in Beijing … it was good to get the feelings and sensations back.”