MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Park City was buzzing with excitement, when the world’s best freestyle skiers came together to compete in the World Cup in Deer Valley, Utah. On Thursday night individual mogul skiers competed against each other, followed by the aerial skiers on Friday and dual moguls on Saturday. 2014 marked the 15th year of international athletes showing off their talents, hurtling down a course called Champion and hitting large jumps to show off their stunts, at the same time hoping to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which start on February 7. And it certainly was a great location to get into the Olympic spirit: In 2002 the very same runs were used for the Olympic Winter Games.
Mogul champion Dale Begg-Smith, who made his comeback in December after more than three years out of competition, produced his best turns of the season, granting himself a spot on the Australian team for the games in Sochi. Begg-Smith finished ninth and twelfth in the World Cup double-header. His coach, Steve Desovich, revealed afterwards, that Begg-Smith was deliberately holding back his best form for the Olympics, saying he was still capable of upsetting the Canadian duo of World Cup champion Mikael Kingsbury and reigning Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau. “He’s skiing slow on purpose,” Desovich said. “He doesn’t want to take a risk because if he hurts his back or hurts his knee at this point, there’s no Olympics. We didn’t even want him to ski here but he did it so he could earn his own Olympic spot.The way the new Olympic format is, with a cut to the top 12 and then a cut to the top six, anything can happen. I think he can medal. He’s still a great performer and he’s got tremendous turns.”
And it wouldn’t be Dale’s first Olympic medal either: In 2006 he won gold in the Torino Olympics, making history as the youngest man to ever win Olympic gold in his discipline, followed by a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The mogul skiing action continued at Deer Valley with round four of the World Cup tour.Dale set the record for the only freestyle athlete to medal at all four major events entered. Major events are comprised of Olympic and world championship events. On top of his Olympic medals Dale Begg-Smith also won world championship medals, namely a bronze in 2005 moguls event, a silver in 2007 dual moguls event and gold in 2007 moguls event, rounding out his record-breaking podium performances.
Dale Begg-Smith was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, where he began skiing at a very early age. Dale trained tirelessly alongside his older brother Jason, and they competed for Canada in various mogul skiing events. At age 16, Dale and Jason moved to Australia, resulting in an involuntary competition break while they had to wait for their Australian citizenship. Even though that break made the transition difficult, it ultimately turned out to be a rewarding decision. They greatly matured as athletes and got to train with some of the best mogul coaches and teams. Today Dale splits his time between multiple places including Australia, Europe and North America. He is a proud Australian and an avid philanthropist, who spends time volunteering with young Australian mogul skiers and has donated to many causes and charities over the years.