#AllezAUS 'Let's Go Australia'
Sport: Freestyle Skiing
Olympic History: Sochi 2014, Beijing 2022
Highlights: Dual Olympian, 13th at 2019 World Championships
Coaches: Pete McNiel, Kate Blamey
Year Born: 1994
State Born: NSW
The breakthrough moment for Taylah O’Neill came during a family trip to Italy while watching events at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics.
“We watched the mogul and figure skating events and I immediately fell in love with the idea of elite sport and the whole atmosphere of the Olympic Games,” Taylah said.
She was competing at the elite level by 2009 and took part in her first World Cup in 2010.
Her dream came a little closer to becoming a reality when Taylah finished 5th at the 2012 FIS (International Ski Federation) World Junior Championships. That put her well on the path to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
When in Russia for the Games, she didn't make the final but reached her Olympic goal of a top-20 finish (16th place).
“The Olympics is something I have dreamed of my entire career, so it really was a dream come true to be able to compete for Australia.”
Injury struck Taylah six months after the Games, as she suffered a ruptured ACL. What helped her through the rehab process was starting a Bachelor of Media at the University of New South Wales, majoring in Public Relations and Advertising.
A month out from the PyeongChang 2018 Games, while trying to qualify for the Australian Team, Taylah finished 17th at the Deer Valley World Cup, USA. She missed out on the 16-woman final by one spot.
Taylah bounced back at the February 2019 World Championships, finishing 13th and her path to a second Olympics appearance started to take shape again.
She claimed bronze in the Nor-Am Cup at Apex Mountain, Canada in March 2019 and 6th at Mount Werner, USA a month earlier.
However, Taylah was thrown another major injury hurdle when a crash while skiing at Perisher in 2019. What was originally thought to be a torn MCL soon after became the second time she had torn her ACL.
Determined to persevere, she held onto her Olympic dream through every injury and made more than 30 World Cup starts in her career. She targeted the end of Beijing 2022 to make her retirement from mogul skiing.
Taylah ended the 2021 calendar year finishing 18th at Alpe d’Huez, France and 17th in dual moguls. In December she had two additional top-25 results in Idre Fjall, Sweden and Ruka, Finland.
Eight years after her Olympic debut, Taylah completed the long road back when she got to the start gate at Beijing 2022.
ACL and MCL injury management meant she did not finish qualifying.
Geoff Lipshut, Chef De Mission of the Beijing 2022 Australian Winter Olympic Team, acknowledged the contribution she made to Australian mogul skiing.
"Taylah is a credit to herself and sport. Taylah had always been a great teammate and contributor on and off the snow."