To compete at the Olympics is a dream for every competitive skier, and that dream might just come true for one talented young man who calls Niseko home in the winter. Thirteen year old George Murphy hopes to ski his way into international level competition and the Winter Olympics.
We recently caught up with George at his home resort of Hirafu, and some of his mentors to find out more about him, and discover whether he really can make it to the Olympics.
Do you have a favourite skier?
Yes, Matt Graham. He’s an Australian mogul skier, and he’s got really good style.
What is your favourite discipline?
Moguls. I like that you can do jumps and it’s not all about speed, you have to have control and style, unlike racing where you just have to go really fast. You have to have good technique in the air and on the jumps.
What’s your favourite place to ski?
Hirafu. It’s my local. It has lots of different terrain; you can go off piste and on groomed runs easily. The park here is fun too.
What has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents because they take me out skiing. My dad takes me out a lot, but my mum helps too.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Probably winning A-bomb 2016 under 14’s. In 2015 I crashed, and I really wanted to do well in 2016. It was my last year in the under 14’s category so I really wanted to win it.
You recently landed your first cork 720. How did you train for that?
First I learnt how to do them on trampoline, and then I took them to a water ramp in Tokyo. I kept training in Australia and Japan on the water and then I did my first cork 720 into powder from a mogul style jump.
What was it like attempting it for the first time on snow?
It was pretty scary. I thought about what could happen if I landed on my head. Injury is a big thing, so I kept my mind positive.
What’s it like training with Sora Yoshikawa (2016 National Champion Mogul Skier)?
He’s a very good coach. He encourages me to do new tricks and try new things. He teaches me good technique in moguls and shows me different styles and the best way to ski.
What is the best thing about the SJTA program?
It’s fun and you can make new friends. You get to have an actual race at the end, so you can see how much you’ve improved and compete against your new friends.
Do you have any goals set for your skiing?
Yeah, I’m aiming for the 2022 Beijing Olympics where I’d like to represent Australia. I want to be the best I can be, especially in moguls.
What qualities do you think make a good sportsperson?
Lots of commitment to the sport, good attitude and goods sportsmanship. Always trying your best, too.
Any sponsors you’d like to thank?
XTM, Smith, Skullcandy, NBS and SkiJapan.com.
George’s father, Peter, and his coach, Sora, both agree that his future is bright. “It’s been amazing watching him grow as a skier. I didn’t expect him to do as well as he has – it’s come mostly from himself. You can’t teach competitive spirit, and he drives himself; he commits himself to the sport.” remarks his father.
When asked what George needs to do next, Sora states “He just needs to continue participating in competitions and learning from every tournament experience. He has all the necessary skills to compete at an international level, and with more experience he will grow even more.
A young competitor worth keeping an eye on – the team at Niseko.com certainly look forward to seeing what the future holds for George!
This year the SJTA program is proud to be working with some of the world’s best coaches, including Japanese World Cup Mogul skier Sora Yoshikawa, Australia Olympic Aerial coach Luke Juergensen, and Perisher Winter Spots Mogul coach Sean Andrews.
These three coaches will play an instrumental role during the April 2017 training camps; mentoring students and nurturing their inner potential towards progressing to an international level of competition in the near future.
For further information about the SkiJapan.com Junior Training Academy, please contact www.sjta.net