Australians love an Olympic champion. Gold medals turn relative-unknowns into sporting legends and national stars overnight. Most of the time.
When Dale Begg-Smith won gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics, it wasn’t his medal that became the big news.
Brought to my attention by Lifehacker reader grunt, the story of Dale Begg-Smith's Olympic Gold and subsequent trial by media is certainly an interesting one.
Dale Begg-Smith was born in Vancouver in 1985. As a teen, he was skiing the moguls for the Canadian ski team. After his coaches suggested he was spending as much time on his internet business as he was training, he became disgruntled and moved to Australia at 16 years of age - allowing him to train at his own leisure and continue to run that lucrative side hustle.
Begg-Smith showed some decent form in the World Cup leading up to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Enough to make him another Australian superstar, right? That’s generally what happens.
Not this time.
Instead of landing million dollar deals with Swisse and male grooming brands (which, to be fair, he probably didn't need anyway), Begg-Smith quickly became scrutinized for his business dealings – which journalists had begun suggesting were linked to the propagation of ‘adware’, ‘malware’ and ‘spyware’.
Although Begg-Smith suggested that he had wound down those business activities so he could begin spending more time on his sport, he was constantly questioned about his ties to AdsCPM, a company that described itself as providing “revolutionary pop-under internet advertising."
In particular, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a comprehensive breakdown of an alleged trail that pointed to Begg-Smith's internet business being associated with particular spyware brands.
In it, they detail a range of websites that Begg-Smith's company have apparently been involved with and how various security websites have flagged those as havens for malicious software.
For the most part, Begg-Smith shied away from answering questions surrounding his business - especially when they came in post-ski press conferences
Even after winning Gold, he has often shunned media appearances. Before the Sochi Olympics in 2014, he was reportedly staying in the Cayman Islands and even the Australian Olympic Ski team didn't know if he was going to participate in the games.
He ended up taking part, but only reached the second qualifying round.
Since then? It's near impossible to find information on Begg-Smith's movements, but it's said that he is still in contact with some of the coaches working with the Australian ski team.
Today I Discovered is a daily dose of facts for Lifehacker readers - the weird, wonderful and sometimes worrying. This week we're pulling out some of the Winter Olympics most bizarre stories. Let us know if you discovered anything that blew your mind in the comments!