Australia’s most successful Winter Olympic Team
Australia’s 17 athletes made history at the second Winter Youth Olympic Games, winning a total of four individual medals and one team medal to become Australia’s most successful Winter Olympic Team on record.
The Aussies pulled off a total of 11 top ten performances in what Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman classed as “an outstanding result from the next generation of Australia winter sport athletes.”
The Australian Team were treated to a spectacular Opening Ceremony at the site of the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, the Lysgårdsbakken ski jump, where freestyle snowboarder Emily Arthur carried the Australian flag.
The 16-year-old was in the spotlight again just two days later when she won Australia’s first medal, claiming silver at the Oslo Vinterpark in snowboard halfpipe pulling off a stellar second run that was only outdone by world number one Chloe Kim (USA).
With a medal on the board the Australian Team was full of confidence and it showed as the fourth official day of competition yielded Australia three medals.
After Mollie Fernandez just missed a podium finish, claiming fourth in the snowboard cross, teammate Alex Dickson won silver in the men’s event as he was less than a board length away from Australia’s first Youth Winter OIympic gold medal at Hafjell Free Park.
Zali Offord made it three silver medals for Australia when she made it onto the ski cross podium before alpine skier Louis Muhlen won an unlikely bronze having been the only alpine athlete to take up the opportunity to compete in the ski cross event.
Australia’s medal haul was completed when short track speed skater Julia Moore finished second as a part of a Mixed NOC Team in the 3000m relay event. The medals ensured Australia continued their run of Winter Olympic medals that remains unbroken since the Aussie short track relay team claimed the nation’s first at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.
Hailing from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and regional areas in between, the group of 15-17-year-olds did the green and gold proud both on the snow and ice and off it. Each of the athletes were heavily involved in the learn and share program that looked to inspire and empower the next wave of winter athletes.
A total of 1,100 athletes from 71 nations competed in Lillehammer, having plenty of amazing opportunities to share memorable experiences both on and off the field of play. From 12-21 February athletes competed the majority of Winter disciplines with some new innovative events mixed in.
The Australian Olympic Committee sent a team of 17 athletes to Lillehammer. Australia was repesented in the following disciplines: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing (ski cross, halfpipe, slopestyle), ice hockey (individual skills), luge, short track speed skating and snowboard (cross , freestyle).
Ian Chesterman, who has led Australia at the past five Winter Olympics, lead the Team as Chef de Mission in Lillehammer. Two-time Olympic aerial skiing medallist and former world champion Alisa Camplin stepped down from the role for family reasons. Camplin was the Chef at Innsbruck in 2012 and set the framework for a fantastic team culture for the 2016 Team. Ian was pleased to be able to step-in and help Australia's future champions and ambassadors for winter sports and the Olympic Games.
Lillehammer is a modern town with medieval skiing roots- its coat of arms features a Viking on skis. The Lillehammer region, which comprises the southern and middle part of the Gudbrandsdalen Valley, lies approximately 180 kilometres north of Oslo. The town of Lillehammer has a population of around 26,000 and an average temperature of minus 6 to minus 12 degrees Celsius in February.
One of Lillehammer’s most iconic natural features is Lake Mjøsa - the largest lake in Norway.
One of the main principles of the Youth Olympic Games is to use existing sporting venues. It will be fantastic for the athletes at Lillehammer 2016 as eight venues from the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Games, will be utilised:
- Birkebeineren Ski Stadium, Lillehammer
- Lillehammer Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track, Hunderfossen
- Kristin’s Hall, Lillehammer
- Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Hills, Lillehammer
- Hafjell Alpine Ski Resort
- Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall, Gjøvik
- Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, Hamar
- The Viking Ship Olympic Arena, Hamar
The Lillehammer Curling Hall is the one new venue to be be used for the Youth Olympic Games. It is in Lillehammer and was opened in 2012.