NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holders and staff were honoured at the 2022 Snow Australia Awards, a gala event in Melbourne celebrating the best snow sport athletes and performances of the 2021 / 22 season.
Mogul skier Jakara Anthony was presented with the Athlete of the Year Award (Olympic Disciplines), claiming yet another accolade after winning the gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games and two FIS crystal globes, including the overall moguls’ world cup title.
Jakara was recognised for her sensational 2021 / 22 campaign, the most successful season by an Australian winter sport athlete in history, during which she won 11 world cup medals from 12 starts and became the first Australian Olympic Champion since 2010.
“It’s still very cool every time I hear the words Olympic champion, and I always think did that really happen,” Jakara said.
“But it did and it’s been a really incredible year and I’m still lost for words for how to describe it, but I couldn’t have done it without the Moguls family.
“The moguls athletes, support staff and coaches are a pretty unique crew, and I wouldn’t be where I am without all of them.
“To have won the Olympic gold medal, two Crystal Globes and now the Snow Australia Athlete of the Year Award – it’s been an amazing season,” she said.
In the Paralympic disciplines, Team NSWIS athlete Ben Tudhope made it three in a row taking the Athlete of the Year Award, after winning in 2020 and 2021. The 22-year-old snowboarder edged fellow NSWIS athlete, Para alpine skier Josh Hanlon, courtesy of six world cup medals (including five golds) which paved the way to his second consecutive crystal globe as overall world cup Para snowboard champion.
Ben, who also won two medals at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships in Norway and claimed the men’s snowboard cross SB-LL2 bronze medal at the Beijing Paralympic Games, could not accept the award in person as he is currently based overseas, but sent a video message to thank the Australian snow sport community for the award.
“What an honour it is to win this award – it’s an honour to be recognised alongside some of Australia’s best winter athletes,” Ben said.
“There are so many people who put my interests before their own, and it all goes into helping me get where I am today.
“It takes an army of people to succeed as a winter sport athlete in Australia, so I’m really grateful for this opportunity and this award is for them too,” he said.
NSWIS’ Snowboard halfpipe prodigy Valentino Guseli was among the other winners on the night, winning the Junior Athlete of the Year Award.
Fellow snowboarders and Beijing medallists Scotty James and Tess Coady were recognised with the Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin Outstanding Achievement Award, honouring the memory of the two-time snowboard cross world champion who tragically passed away almost two years ago.
NSWIS moguls coaches Kate Blamey and Peter McNeil took out the Coach of the Year award, helping eight NSWIS moguls athletes through their Olympic campaigns and winter seasons.
Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy congratulated all award winners and nominees, highlighting how Australian athletes performed magnificently and represented our country proudly on the world stage.
“Despite the global pandemic still presenting significant challenges both domestically and internationally, the athletes performed magnificently and we could not be more proud of how they conducted themselves both on and off the snow,” Kennedy said.
“We worked closely with our high performance partners including the Olympic Winter Institute, NSWIS, VIS, and the Australian Institute of Sport to provide our athletes with the best chance to compete at the highest level.”
With Australian athletes claiming 26 world cup podiums overall, four medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and four crystal globes, they certainly delivered.
“Our athletes have shown tremendous dedication as they trained hard and navigated uncertainty during the winter season and the lead up to the Games, where their talent shone brilliantly. Tonight I am pleased that the Australian snow community came together to recognise and celebrate their tremendous achievements,” Kennedy added.
“Their success tells us that we are on the right track as we will continue to work to provide the best possible training, pathway programs and opportunities for high performance athletes in the years ahead,” he said.
The gala night was also an opportunity to celebrate the careers of eight athletes who announced their retirement at the end of the 2021 / 22 season.
Para alpine skier Mitch Gourley and Mel Perrine, Para alpine guide Bobbi Kelly, mogul skiers Sophie Ash, James Matheson, Taylah O’Neill and Brodie Summers, and ski cross athlete Sami Kennedy-Sim were all presented with the Snow Australia Medal in recognition of their Games participation, service and outstanding achievements.
2022 Snow Australia Awards Winners
Athlete of the Year (Olympic Disciplines): Jakara Anthony
Athlete of the Year (Paralympic Disciplines): Ben Tudhope
Junior Athlete of the Year: Valentino Guseli
Alex “Chumpy” Pullin Outstanding Achievement: Tess Coady and Scotty James
Coach of the Year (Olympic Disciplines): Peter McNiel and Kate Blamey
Coach of the Year (Paralympic Disciplines): Par Sunqdvist