Graham joined the Perisher Winter Sports Club mogul program at the age of six, and he has been skiing ever since. Some of his major achievements so far include:
Graham is a graduate of the Central Coast Grammar School, and he has maintained his ties with the school since graduating. He is studying towards his Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and Bachelor of Business at the University of Newcastle.
Matthew Graham was born 23 October 1994, in Narara, a northern suburb of Gosford. Gosfors is a surfing town on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, 90 minutes north of Sydney. He lives with his parents in the house where he was raised. Graham has three older siblings: Eliza (6 years older), David (4 years older), and Heidi (2 years older). He is about to be an uncle for the first time.
INTRODUCTION TO MOGULS Graham's father skied growing up, and encouraged his mother to take up the sport when Graham was a toddler. The family took their first ski holiday when he was three. When Graham was six (in 2000) the family joined a ski program at Perisher Winter Sports Club in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. The Grahams drove six hours south to spend every weekend there from early-July to mid-September each year. At first Graham participated in every class the resort offered, including slopestyle (obstacle course racing), alpine racing, and mogul jumping. A year later (2001), moguls were Graham’s specialty. Graham was on the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) team, which is the Australian Olympic development team, starting when he was 12. He’s been on the Olympic team (Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA)) since he was 15.
OTHER THAN MOGULS... Before moguls took over, Graham raced 8’, single-sail Sabot sailboats with his brother. Graham was 4 times Australian and 6 times state champions, winning 2 state titles with his brother. He and David were approached by Yachting Australia, the national sporting organization for sailing, and asked to join the Australian sailing development team and train for the Olympics. That’s when both boys chose moguls over Sabots. Though he’s a little nostalgic about sailing, Graham feels more suited for mogul skiing. He likes the action. Graham is a graduate of the Central Coast Grammar School. He discovered a joy for leaning around 10th grade, when he began spending a few weeks each year away from school for his sport. Presently Graham studies independently while training most of the year in North America, returning home for exams each term.
INFLUENCING FACTORS The Grahams have a close-knit family, and Matt looks up its patriarchs. His grandfather who owns the civil engineering firm his great grandfather founded with the purchase of an excavator 50+ years ago. Graham is studying engineering at University of Newcastle and hopes to work with his grandfather one day.
Graham accesses most of his coursework online, and is grateful to the teachers and university professors who have worked around his training schedule.
Graham also looks up to his older brother David. Growing up, his siblings observed that if David did it, Matt wanted to learn. David sailed; so Matt sailed. The Graham brothers won 2 state titles sailing together. David did moguls; so Matt does moguls. When David chose moguls over sailing, Matt followed. It’s become a joke in the family.
Graham started beating his brother on moguls at 14.
Sporting-wise, Graham has been greatly influenced by Australian mogul skier Dale Begg-Smith. Begg-Smith is a transplant who skied for Australia’s national ski team. He emigrated from Canada when he was 16 because his Canadian coaches complained that he was spending too much time on his Internet business, and not enough time training. He was considerably invested in his company, and chose to relocate rather than choose between his business and his sport. Begg-Smith and his brother were welcomed to Australia, who had a smaller program that offered greater flexibility. After three years he qualified for citizenship, and was able to compete for his adopted country. He took Olympic gold in 2006; silver in 2010. Graham was 13 when Begg-Smith took a couple months off in Winter 2008 to coach him. Begg-Smith has been Graham’s mentor ever since.
HIGH POINTS “Matt first made his mark on the world stage as a 15-year-old, placing 27th in his debut in the final World Cup qualification event prior to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.” (Wikipedia) “In 2013 he achieved fourth place at this first World Championships in Voss, Norway.” (Wikipedia) “Also in 2013, he finished seventh at the Sochi Olympic test World Cup event.” (Wikipedia) At the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Matt was “agonizingly close” to making the super-final in Sochi, finishing just 0.01 of a point behind American Patrick Deneen in Final 2, placing seventh in the finals of the Men's Moguls. (Partly quoted from Wikipedia)
LOW POINTS: In September 2010, Graham was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lumbar spine at L5. He was benched for 8 months. The first 3 months he had to be completely inactive to let the fracture repair. No running, swimming, walking, and no sitting or standing for long periods of time. Graham had elbow surgery in July 2015 after a leisure-time accident during an Australia team training camp in Park City, Utah. On July 11 he was playing volleyball with his teammates, when the ball went over a chest-high wooden fence. Graham frog-leapt the fence to retrieve the ball. On his return vault, the fence collapsed and brought Graham down on his right elbow, snapping the radial head off his ulna. Graham flew home for surgery once an x-ray determined a diagnosis.
LOOKING AHEAD... A gold is possibly in the cards for Matt at the Olympic games in 2018 (age 23) in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He hopes to compete in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China, (when he is 27). AFTER SPORT Graham always expected that he’d go to college, and never imagined mogul skiing would be a long-term career. (Mogul skiing is a relatively small sport.)
MISCELLANY Moguls Mogul skiers are susceptible to low back and knee injuries. Once they’re in their late 20s, the majority of mogul jumpers feel pain consistently while they ski. The fastest mogul skiers in the world take about 3 moguls a second. It’s a high impact sport. Folks at home Graham’s friends back home mean a lot to him, and when they’re together they enjoy surfing, sailing, wakeboarding, and waterskiing.
Teammates Graham’s ski teammates are good friends and a bunch of practical jokers. Other passions When he’s not skiing, Graham passionately pursues his university coursework. He loves mathematics, and pursuing education in general. His time at home is especially precious, and he uses it to enjoy the coastal life he was raised to love. He tries to get out on the water as much as he can when he’s home.
Regrets Graham doesn’t have any major regrets. He sometimes thinks he misses sailing until he remembers that he chose between sailing and moguls. He’s not sorry he chose moguls. Although not holding onto any big regrets, there’s one thing he wishes he’d have done a little differently: When he was in Sochi, Russia for the 2012 Olympics, Graham had a couple of weeks of free time after the Games, which he spent socializing and relaxing at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort. Only on the last day he decided to go skiing. Spending his last day on the mountain, Graham realized he was at one of the best resorts in the world, and he’d missed his opportunity to enjoy its slopes.