The Australian Olympic team was announced this morning, with over 40 athletes qualified for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games which start in South Korea on February 9.
Many of these athletes will arrive at the games with confidence they can compete for medals at the highest level, having shown good form leading into the games on the World Cup circuit.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said the athletes represent the best credentialed team sent to a Winter Olympics by Australia having claimed 54 individual World Cup medals to go with five World Championship podiums over the past 18 months between them.
Lydia Lassila will be competing at her fifth Olympics in aerials, a great feat for any athlete. Lassila recently podiumed twice at Lake Placid, one a victory and will be looking to finish her Winter Olympic career in style.
Lassila told the AOC, “I never dreamed of going to five Olympics or having a career this long.”
“I’ve learned so much about myself, endured set backs and celebrated the victories. I love my sport, I love my country and that’s what has kept me coming back.”
Lassila is also a strong favourite to be flag bearer for the team, which will be announced in PyeongChang at a team function on February 8.
Lydia Lassila in Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014. Photo by Steve Cuff
Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said he is excited to lead the team that will take on the world’s best in a little over a fortnight’s time.
“PyeongChang is ready, our athletes are excited and the focus is on the final days of preparation before the team starts to arrive in South Korea next week,” said Chesterman, who will lead the Australian Team at a Winter Games for the sixth time.
“The Team is a great cross-section of sports on the winter program which is important to the Australian Olympic Committee.
Golden girl of Australian snow Torah Bright who attempted to qualify for the games will not be at her fourth Olympics. Bright posted on her social media page this morning, “Cheering from the sidelines. Unfortunately, after sustaining a few injuries at an event last week in Switzerland, I will not be able to compete at the upcoming Olympics.”
Britt Cox in women’s moguls and Scotty James in men’s snowboard halfpipe will both head to PyeongChang as World Champions, and expected to be contenders for high honours. Both these athletes were starry eyed 15 year old’s in Vancouver 2010 at their first games and are now in the prime of their sport.
This is a great example of how talented snow athletes coming through the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia system can flourish given the right support and nurturing in their younger years. This will be the third games for both athletes.
Britt Cox will be a strong contender for a medal. Photo by Steve Cuff
The men and women moguls will kick start the Australian campaign in qualifications just hours before the Opening Ceremony on February 9. Matt Graham will be a contender in the men’s having had a solid World Cup start this season.
The AOC said there is the possibility that Australia will receive extra quota places in freestyle skiing (men’s moguls and men’s ski cross) and women’s cross country. If that is the case those athletes will be added to the team prior to the end of the week.
The selection of athletes to this Team is subject to appeal. It should be noted that any appeal is on the basis of the non-nomination of the appealing athlete and not an appeal against an individual who has been selected. The selection of some athletes is also pending medical clearance.
You can see the full Australian team here