Snubbed Down Under

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The Aussies are playing hardball with the Canadian Freestyle team’s summer training grounds down under …

mogulsIt’s become a mean old sporting world out there as countries scrap for every advantage heading towards the 2010 Winter Olympics.

There’s been plenty of griping from other nations as Canada has tried to protect its home-field advantage in Vancouver.

Some competitors are practicing a little payback. It turns out the Canadian moguls team has been denied the opportunity do on-snow training in Australia the past two summers.

Canada’s Alex Bilodeau will duke it out with Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The Aussies wanted unlimited access to the 2010 Olympic moguls site at Cypress Mountain, near Vancouver, in exchange for letting the Canadians continue to train at their site in Perisher.

Australia’s big hope for 2010 is B.C. native and defending Olympic champion Dale Begg-Smith, an Aussie by convenience who lives 20 minutes from Cypress.

The Canadians weren’t about to cave in to those demands with the best men’s moguls team in the world, including reigning World Cup champion in Alex Bilodeau, who tore up the circuit with Begg-Smith on the sidelines after tearing up his knee.

This has potential to be a great duel at the 2010 Games.

Dominick Gauthier, who coaches Bilodeau and reigning women’s Olympic champ Jenn Heil, said they tried hard to negotiate some sort of exchange, but the Australians refused to budge.

The end result is the Canadians will train on snow in Argentina for the second straight summer. They leave shortly. The conditions in Argentina are more similar to what they’ll face at the Olympics, but it’s clear they love it in Australia and there are much fewer hassles there.

Gauthier said it would have been to Begg-Smith’s benefit to have Bilodeau training in Australia, because it would give him a benchmark in his comeback.

“I thought it was a pretty stupid move on their behalf, because Dale hurt himself and I think it would have been good for Dale to see how Alex was doing instead of training on his own and he’s thinking he’s okay and then he realizes in November he’s two seconds off the pace. To me, the more you can train with other people around, the better.”

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