Australia is preparing to field a team of up to 55 athletes in Korea, which is a few less than the sixty in Sochi, but according to Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman smaller is looking stronger.
“December produced outstanding results starting with moguls when Britt Cox and Matt Graham won Gold and Silver respectively in the season opening World Cup,” Mr Chesterman said.
“The following weekend delivered more with a Snowboard Cross Gold for Belle Brockhoff and Bronze for Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin and an historic weekend for the Aerials team as Danielle Scott claimed an individual Silver and then Gold plus a World number 1 ranking, Samantha Wells placed third and with Dave Morris Australia won its first-ever Team medal with a Bronze.”
Importantly for Australian winter sports is the emerging depth across more disciplines.
“As well as all those medals there have been other top five places in World Cups and major international competitions where our athletes continue to represent Australia with distinction,” Mr Chesterman added.
“It’s the depth of the performances that is the most important thing. We see so many athletes representing at the highest levels and truly establishing Australia as a winter sport nation.”
Fifteen winter sport disciplines offering a total 102 Olympic medals will be contested in PyeongChang, which is South Korea’s first Winter Games and the third for an East Asian city - after Sapporo in 1964 and Nagano in 1998.
The three skating sports are figure skating, speed skating, and short track speed skating. The six skiing sports are alpine, cross-country, freestyle, nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding.
Australia is likely to qualify in the three skating and four skiing sports.
Test events for OWIA athletes continue in February at the 2018 Olympic venues at Gangneug Ice Arena and Bokwang Park including;
9 - 12 February: Long Track Speed Skating: Danielle Greig
10 February: Aerial Skiing: Danielle Scott, Lydia Lassila, Laura Peel, Samantha Wells and Dave Morris
11 February: Mogul Skiing: Britt Cox, Nicole Parks, Matt Graham and Brodie Summers
15 – 19 February: Figure Skating: Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine.
17 February: Snowboard Halfpipe: Scotty James, Kent Callister and Nate Johnson
“The Games have been well located to provide ease of access for athletes,” Ian Chesterman advised.
“These days with the games being so big that’s a real challenge. The venues all look good, with many already used in test events and more to come.”
“Full credit to the organising committee producing such good venues and for building infrastructure such as the high-speed rail from Seoul.”
“Korea is well prepared with venues for these Games.”