Winter Olympic silver medallist Jarryd Hughes said there have been countless memorable moments over the past few weeks in PyeongChang but the one that is the most special is hugging his dad after his medal-winning race.
Catholic born and bred, the 22-year-old from Greenwich, admitted taking out the Snowboard Cross silver medal and carrying the Australian flag in the closing ceremony in front of billions of people were both incredible events – but holding his dad after his win was his gold medal moment.
“Winning the medal and carrying the flag was amazing but cuddling my dad was the absolute highlight for me,” Jarryd beamed.
“It is one thing to share a win like this with friends but to share it with your mum and dad is on another level, sheer enjoyment was the only way I could describe it.
“They are the ones who have sacrificed everything and supported me my entire life, so to share this with them is just so incredible.”
Only hours back on home soil, the former student of St Mark’s Primary School at Drummoyne, revealed exclusively to The Catholic Weekly he will take a few weeks off before turning his attention to not only competing in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but incredibly coaching a team of skateboarders to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Games – the first time the sport has been an Olympic event.
He said he will divide his time between both pursuits and is confident of adding to Australia’s medal tallies at both the summer and winter Olympics.
“All going to plan I will compete in Beijing and get a team of skateboarders to the 2020 Tokyo Games to compete in both the park and street style competitions,” he said.
“My initial focus is getting the skateboarding team up and running, Australia has long been regarded as one of the leaders in the sport and I’m confident we will medal when we debut at the summer Games.
“While skateboarding and snowboarding are quite similar disciplines, I’ll leave the pursuits off the snow to someone else.”
St Mark’s sport teacher Cheryl Costigan said the whole school community were thrilled with what he had achieved.
“We are absolutely delighted with what he has done and congratulate him on his achievements,” she said.
Jarryd is now part of a very elite club, being one of just 15 Australian’s to win a medal at the Winter Olympics since our debut appearance in the 1936 Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany – however it hasn’t all been a smooth run.
His career has included gold medals at the World Cup and Winter X Games, becoming the youngest world number one, as well as five knee surgeries in five years and many months of both rehab and being away from his family.
“People watching me winning the medal just see two minutes of racing yet it has been many, many years of hard work and sacrifice which is why this is so special for me and my family. It really is a dream come true.”
Jarryd will take the next few weeks off soaking up the warm weather before taking part in the homecoming street parade for the Winter Olympians in Melbourne.