Jonny Moseley

TBT: The mute grab heard round the world (1998)

By: Ethan Stone February 14, 2019

This week a video of Daichi Hara launching into the stratosphere during a dual moguls run at the World Championships went viral, with the Japanese rider providing the most literal example yet of that old adage: “When in trouble, tuck for double.”

Since we’ve got moguls on our mind, this week’s Throwback Thursday goes to Jonny Moseley’s gold-medal bump run at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Moseley performed a 360 mute grab, at a time when most viewers had never even seen a skier grab his skis before. The 360 mute became Moseley’s signature move and a fundamental trick of the new freeskiing movement that burst onto the scene shortly afterwards.

Though Moseley rode away from Nagano with the fame and the gold, the story is a bit more complicated. Moseley wasn’t the first to do the trick — he wasn’t even the only person to do it in that contest. JF Cusson had been grabbing his skis since the early ’90s, and Canadian bump competitor Julien Regnier also did a 360 mute in his Olympic run. But Moseley ended up stealing the spotlight, with judges and international media preferring to focus on the USA’s “Golden Boy” rather than a pack of unkempt French-Canadians.

Moseley’s 360 mute may not look like much today — but it was “the grab heard round the world” that helped to spark the freeskiing revolution.