Australia's Biggest Olympic Winter Team30 January 2014
The 2014 Australian Olympic Winter Team has now been finalised with a record 60 athletes selected to represent Australia in Russia. This eclipses the previous winter record of 40 athletes set in Torino 2006 and matched at the Vancouver Games in 2010. Not only is this 2014 Team 50 per cent larger than the previous record, for the first time in Australia’s 118-year Olympic history this Team has more women than men- with 31 female athletes and 29 male athletes.
Australia will be represented in 11 disciplines in Sochi: Alpine Skiing (5), Biathlon (2), Bobsleigh (6), Cross Country Skiing (4), Figure Skating (4), Freestyle Skiing (21), Luge (1), Short Track Speed Skating (2), Skeleton (3) Snowboard (11) and Speed Skating (1). Following last week’s selection of 56 athletes , biathletes Alex Almoukov and Lucy Glanville were added to the Team on Saturday after a re-allocation of quota places. Also a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed the final two members of the Alpine Skiing Section – Emily Bamford and Lavinia Chrystal. Additionally, Torah Bright discovered on Saturday that she had qualified in a third event in Sochi- Snowboard Cross to add to her Halfpipe and Slopestyle events.
Defending Olympic Aerials Champion, Lydia Lassila is Australia’s most-capped athlete and will compete at her fourth Olympics. She is joined by two other Olympic medallists in Bright and dual Olympic Moguls medallist Dale Begg-Smith. Seven athletes are contesting their third Olympics including Jana Pittman, who is the first Australian woman to compete at a Summer and Winter Olympics.
In total there are 43 debutants on the Team, including three athletes to make the transition from the Youth Olympic Games - Alex Ferlazzo, Lucy Glanville and Greta Small.
Melbourne Short Track Speed Skater Deanna Lockett is the youngest athlete at 18 (born 13/11/1995) and 35-year-old Ski Cross racer Jenny Owens is the eldest of the Team. The three-time Olympian competed at her first Games as an Alpine Skier at Salt Lake 2002.
Australian Team Chef de Mission has described this Team as the ‘best credentialed’ group of Australian winter athletes ever assembled.
“Many athletes will go with the hope of making a final, and we have a number with hope of winning a medal,” Chesterman said.
“There is no doubt that if our athletes have their best day on their Olympic competition day then this will be the most successful Winter Team ever.”
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has set a performance target, to place within the top 15 nations on the overall medal standings, which is predicted will take 4 to 5 medals. All three medallists from 2010 are back- Begg-Smith, Bright and Lassila- and they are joined by a host of athletes who have won world titles, won World Cups or reached the podium at these top calibre events.
Australian Olympic Team staff are already on the ground in Sochi preparing the Coastal, Mountain and Endurance Villages for the athletes. The first Australian athletes to arrive in Sochi are Moguls Skiers late on Thursday evening, which is Friday morning in Australia (AEDT 7 hrs ahead of Sochi).
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