The 2018 Australian Open Championships finished up on August 18-19 at Falls Creek with an exciting weekend of very wintery racing. In the wrap-up of it all there were four different open winners and four different Australian champions across the four events, with only one overlap. Confusing? Read on!
First up on Saturday August 18 were the Freestyle Sprints. The fastest qualifiers were AUS Junior team athlete Emily Champion and two-time Winter Olympian Callum Watson. However when the snow (dumping?) settled on the finals the Open champions were Cambria McDermott from the USA and Ole Jacob Forsmo from Norway. The Australian titles were awarded to Emily and Callum as the first Australians across the line in the finals. Rounding out the podium, third placed woman was 14-year-old Zana Evans followed by Pyeongchang Winter Olympian Casey Wright, while for the men Liam Burton out-sprinted Mark Pollock for third.
Sunday August 19 saw more snow falling sporadically during the distance Classic races. In the women’s 5km the overwhelming winner was Aurélie Dabudyk from France, with the Australian title awarded to second placed Casey Wright. Cambria McDermott made the podium again in third place less than 7 seconds ahead of Iris Pessey from France. The men’s 10km was one of the closest results in years, with just 11 seconds separating the top three, with both the win and the Australian title going to local Winter Olympian Phillip Bellingham ahead of fellow team members Mark Pollock and Seve de Campo.
For the full results, try these links:
Complicating matters further, neither McDermott nor Dabudyk had active FIS licences for the races, meaning that they had to be removed from the official FIS results (which are available here). Crazy I know!
Next up for international XC racing in Australia is the Kangaroo Hoppet this coming Saturday August 25. Expect to see all of the athletes above plus more featuring in the different events.