Snowy Mountains Grammar School had two current students named for this year’s Youth Olympic Games who represented Australia in Lausanne, Switzerland – Joey Steggall and Benjamin Wynn.

Benjamin competed in Ski Cross and Joey competed in Alpine Skiing. Both student-athletes are also part of the SMGS Elite Snowsports Academy.

SMGS ESA program alumni, Finn Sadler and Lily Jekel, were also nominated for Snowboard Cross and Snowboard respectively.

The YOG games, by all accounts, are a great way to help prepare and further inspire these young athletes in their pursuit of one day representing their country at the Olympic Games.

Leading up to and during the action-packed competition schedule, athletes garner valuable skills, such as:

  • managing the ebb and flow of team dynamics and travel
  • understanding team policy and expectation
  • communicating with the media
  • understanding and following team uniform guidelines
  • meeting and making friends with athletes from other countries
  • navigating warm-up, course inspection, check-in and race start times
  • for some athletes, maybe being required to undertake testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
  • keeping up to date with accurate transportation schedules, dining hall schedules and team meeting schedules
  • balancing social aspects of the event with individual preparation, rest and recovery.

We caught up with both Benjamin and Joey about their aspirations and motivations for snowsports. Here is what they had to say:

 

Benjamin Wynn, Year 11

Placed 14th in Ski Cross

What are your major goals in snowsports? 

My major goals would have to be getting paid to ski and/or being on a World Cup level for skiing. Being on the Australian team is definitely a goal that steps me in the right direction.

Do you have any specific goals for the Youth Olympics?

My goal is to podium in the ski cross and the dream is to win! 

What was your first reaction when you found out about being named in Team Australia?

I honestly couldn’t believe it. To do what I love at an international level leaves me speechless. 

What is it about snowsports that you love the most?

The feeling of gliding at fast speeds is amazing. Now combining jumping with speed in ski cross makes me love skiing even more.  

Do you have any advice for younger athletes about balancing school and sport?

Communicate with your teachers is what I have done and, trust me, at SMGS they understand that sport needs to be balanced with academics. Also, just keep on top of your work early rather than trying to do everything at the last minute. The more you get done early, the less you will worry about the deadlines.

Is there anyone who has helped you the most in your snowsports pursuit so far?

My mum and dad are at the top of the list when it comes to support. They help me through the thick and thin, whether it is getting my work in on time or getting more wax to make my skis faster. I get a lot of help from them. 

What is your most memorable moment so far in snowsports?

Definitely skiing around western America has be the most memorable moment so far. As part of the Mammoth team, you travel around the western part of America with the team. The friends that I have made over there are friends that I will keep forever, and the places I travel with them are just amazing. Skiing in Alaska would also have to be a major highlight.

Joey Steggall, Year 11

Top result at YOG – 27th in Slalom

What are your major goals in snowsports? Do you have any specific goals for the Youth Olympics?

My major goal in snowsports is to make an impact in the Alpine racing world on the FIS race series, the Europa Cup, World Cup circuits and eventually at World Championships and the Olympics.

The biggest goal that I have at the Youth Olympic Games is of course to do as well as I can, but also to meet many new athletes from different countries and to hear what they have had to go through to qualify for the games. 

What was your first reaction when you found out about being named in Team Australia?

When I first heard that I had qualified for the Youth Olympic Games, I was very happy. It felt like it was a reward for all the hard work and sacrifices I have had to make over the last few years. I have worked very hard on my physical training and my on-snow training and I haven’t had much time for anything else except my school work.

What is it about snowsports that you love the most?

The best thing about snowsports is that I’m outside and that most people I meet are friendly, like-minded and they have a good story as to why they are doing their favourite snowsport. At races, everyone is friendly, everyone knows how hard it has been to get there.

Do you have any advice for younger athletes about balancing school and sport?

My advice on balancing school and sport is to be organised. Unfortunately, there are only twenty-four hours in a day and you have to fit everything in. My advice is to work hard when you are at school and get as much done as possible, so when your school day is over you have more time to train, and also get some rest which is as important as training in sport.

Is there anyone who has helped you the most in your snowsports pursuit so far?

There are a few people who help me a lot in my pursuit to reach the highest possible level of skiing. The most important is my family. They have to sacrifice a lot so that I can fit everything in during the year. My teachers at SMGS have made a big difference compared to all the other schools I have been to with their availability when I have to catch up on school work when I am away training and racing.

What is your most memorable moment so far in snowsports?

My most memorable moment so far in snowsports is definitely being qualified and competing at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. I have met so many like-minded people from different countries who all share the same passion for their chosen sport. I will keep forever in my memory the experience of these Youth Olympic Games. It makes me want to work harder and qualify for the real Olympic Games.

Of Benjamin’s and Joey’s incredible achievement of being selected and competing at the Youth Olympic Games, SMGS Director of Activities Martin Philpott said, “Congratulations to both Benjamin and Joey on their nomination and fantastic results. Both students not only work incredibly hard in the classroom and in training, but they are great role models for the younger students.  It is pleasing to see them both take the next step in their snowsports career and proudly represent Australia and SMGS at this year’s Youth Olympic Games.”

Programming and results can be viewed here: https://www.lausanne2020.sport/results

Photo Credit: Snow Australia