Reigning Olympic moguls champion Jonny Moseley (Tiburon, CA) all but clinched a spot on the 2002 Olympic TeamJan. 11, when, overcoming a night of sickness, he won the first of two World Cup moguls events in St. Lary, France, hisfirst World Cup victory in four years and a sweet moment after a frustrating start to the Olympic season. The U.S. teamheads to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the Gateway Freestyle Classic Jan. 18-20 with the final moguls Olympic selection event onthe Jan. 19. Moseley--who had been ninth in Tignes, way off the pace in Steamboat and 19th in Oberstdorf Jan. 6, before hiswin--chatted Sunday with USSA's Paul Robbins before heading to Lake Placid.
After your frustrations early on, this has to be pretty tasty.
It's out of control. We're elated...it's just so good...
You had said, though, you were through with triples and the usual, and you wanted to be more innovative, but you shelved your horizontal rotation 'Dinner Roll' trick and went back to basics.
Yeah, I went to being a "company man" and gave 'em what they wanted. I was definitely trained well enough to do it, but sometimes you pull into a season, like back in '98, and right out of the box you have the package the judges wanted. It was apparent right away then, and I couldn't lose.
But that didn't happen this time. I trained almost harder than '98, and we had more resources, more training camps, and everything. Then I came out of the box and just sort of was too timid to throw the Dinner Roll in the beginning of the season because it's kind of a big trick and you have to get warmed up to do it...and I was trying to get me into position to qualify 12 make Finals at the World Cup level.
After two World Cups, I hadn't performed well because I was trying to do tricks I hadn't trained very much. I spent so much time on the Dinner Roll over the summer that I didn't train much else. I had a couple of backup tricks, but I hadn't trained 'em a lot.
And you didn't get very high marks from the judges, even though the crowd (15,000-plus) loved it, when you unveiled it at the Gold Cup on New Year's Eve. (He was ninth.)
Exactly. I felt good at Gold Cup, but I didn't get the scores, so I was kind of discouraged again. At that point, Cooper Schell, his coach and I had written the whole campaign off. We knew I had a couple more events, so we were happy we'd given it a good try.
I just kind of assumed my style was, sort of, something the judges weren't looking for. So, I came to this competition just sort of, I don't know...I got really discouraged in Oberstdorf. I'd put down a pretty nice run, had a big tail grab, 360 rotation off the top, a double twister spread on the bottom. I thought it'd be good enough to get me into the second run i.e.,top 12 and - Boom! - I'm 20th, or 19th.
I figure I can't change my whole technique midway through the season. I'm not gonna please the judges, though. I mean, I lostwith good runs.
You weren't exactly on a roll...
No, so I then I come into this contest and drew No. 1 running order. I'm not hot...things are really cold. I got up in the morning and I'm sick of stressing myself out, trying to do different tricks. I'm just sick of even making the effort if it's not going to be rewarded. I stuck a huge triple twister-spread first jump and a double twister-spread. I figured I'd do my run and get out of there...but the first run put me in first place, and held on through the 60 competitors. That's insane in this sport.
And my second run was an out-of-body experience. I completely ripped it up.
After being sick and not sleeping very much?
It's incredible, huh? I was puking all night. I had some food poisoning. I don't know what the deal was but it was a long night.
A World Cup win. That should put Jonny Mogulsley--Head Coach Donny St. Pierre's new name for you--in the Olympics again.
Mogulsley? (Chortle) I like it. It's good...
Well,, I think I'm in the Olympics. I think this sealed the deal, so I can start working on my Dinner Roll again.
Today you threw it off your bottom jump.
Yeah, how weird--I drew No. 1 running order again. Totally out of the blue, bizarre...crazy...So I threw my Dinner Roll on the bottom jump. I totally stomped it, so I'm glad about that, but I had some other shaky parts in my run and probably got the score I deserved. But I'm glad we could show it to the judges, get it on the record in a World Cup and let people see it.
The judges in Lake Placid are supposedly the judges who'll be at the Olympics. Donny St. Pierre. U.S. moguls head coach hopes to get everyone on the same page, knowing what to expect with the DinnerRoll so they're comfortable going into the Games.
Yeah, that's good. We definitely want them to see it so they can take a good look at it...maybe it'll help at the Olympics. I want them to know what to expect.
You were away from the World Cup for two years. And last season wasn't easy. This win has to give you a pick-me-up, kind of like that second place at Sunday River last season--again, after a so-so start--showed you were close.
That one in Sunday River gave me the notion I wasn't completely washed up, that I had the possibility to have a podium and go the Olympics. It gave me my first real boost and added to my motivation. This is my second.
Coming back hasn't been easy. Did you realize how much talent this U.S. moguls team has?
Oh yeah--I knew it was gonna be a dogfight. I've said all along, even last year, it was gonna take a win for me to go to the Olympics and I hoped I could do that. It's just a shame not everyone could go because down to the sixth or seventh guy they're awesome...
I knew how hot they were. I've been watching these guys for years. I knew it was a strong, strong team coming into this situation. I expected to not be able to float to the top. I knew it'd be difficult but that's the way things are now. This is easily the most talented team I've been on...and that's pretty cool.
So, now the big questions: Where did you shoot that new Sprint TV commercial with you calling from some mountain trail and that, coincidentally, broke just as you won...and how many takes did you need with the 'man in the black raincoat' who walked out of the woods?
Oh, is that on now? Oh man...that was shot at Snowbird, right before the Steamboat World Cup Dec. 14. We did about a hundred takes...no, well, maybe 35-40 takes. It was a long day. It was freezing...
But things are hot now...and could be looking pretty good.
Overall, it's been dreamy. We're pumped...
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For more about Jonny Moseley, check out www.jonnymoseley.com