Athlete of the week: Jarryd Hughes
It's maybe the best situation a young athlete could ask for: traveling the World Cup tour with a strong team that also includes the reigning World Champion.
No eyes on yourself but on the alpha leader out in front. Carefully watching the top guys race down quality courses and learn as much as you can while steadily catching up in their wake.
That's what young gun Jarryd Hughes did over the past two years. He learned a lot by watching riders like Alex Pullin, appreciated his coaches advices but took his chance to step on the world's centre stage when the door opened up wide for him.
The 18-year-old from Sidney, who is currently competing in his second full FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup season, impressed the deep and strong field of international athletes when he won the Lake Louise event in an impressive way.
It was the eighth World Cup race of his career and his career's biggest success for sure. However, winning one race is one side of the medal, keeping the momentum the other one. Especially when the next events take place after a break of three weeks.
But the 2012 Junior World Championships Silver medalist proved in the past two races at Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra, that he is currently on top of his game.
By making the small finals twice, finishing eleventh and ninth, the regular-footer, who truly has some fighting chance at his first ever Olympics next month, underlined that he has what it takes to believe in himself thus deservedly earning the feature as athlete of the week.