Moguls skier Matt Graham has returned to training just one month after breaking his collarbone and is preparing to fly to Ruka, Finland where he will rejoin the moguls team ahead of Beijing 2022.
The Olympic silver medallist fell in training at the Idre Fjall World Cup event in Sweden in mid-December and returned to Australia following surgery.
With a plate and 13 screws currently holding his collarbone together, Graham has resumed training with just 22 days until the Beijing Winter Olympics' opening ceremony.
Graham has been training at the Geoff Henke Winter Olympic Training Centre in Brisbane, launching from ramps into water in the 30-degree heat of a Queensland summer.
The facility was a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Sport, Queensland Government, Australian Olympic Committee and Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, and officially opened in May 2021 to support the training of Australia’s aerials and moguls teams ahead of Beijing 2022.
This is far from Graham's normal Olympic preparation schedule, which is more often in the negative temperatures of the northern hemisphere.
"It's been a very different preparation for me, in my third Olympic Games," Graham said.
"My usual preparation consists of travelling around the world competing on the World Cup tour with the rest of my teammates and my competitors, but this year obviously I sustained a broken clavicle back in December and so I've come home to do my rest and recovery...
"The fact that we've got this facility in Brisbane, it's allowed me to put the shoulder through the paces and feels really good."
Most Australian Winter Olympic athletes have remained overseas throughout the season, and the holiday period, and the strangeness of training for a winter sport in summer, just weeks out from the Games, is not lost on Graham.
“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.”
It's an incredibly tight rehab schedule for the 27-year-old, but one he is confident will have him competing in Beijing in February.
“I got surgery four days after the injury, it put a plate there with 13 screws, it’s all bolted together, strong and sturdy which is good. It’s all come really good in the past seven days and today was the first day giving it, its real test.
“Today I put the shoulder through the paces, getting in the air again to regain that confidence. I went through the skills I’ll perform in Beijing – I haven’t been off the snow for too long, so today it was good to get the feelings and sensations back."
Every day matters with just 22 until the Games, and Graham is making the most of each and every one of them, aiming to be fully fit and ready for the first moguls qualification run.
“I’ve remained really positive throughout this period. Getting there is the first challenge, and once I’m there, I want to be fit and healthy and compete at 100 per cent.
"Coming off the last Olympics, winning silver was a career highlight. I’d love to go one better, for me it’s about focusing on my own performance, run by run.
“I have high expectations of myself and what I want to achieve in Beijing. Having this injury, it’s not ideal but it works in my favour to have all of my experience from previous Games behind me.”
The 2022 Beijing Olympics officially begins on February 4 with the Opening Ceremony.