Australia’s winter Olympians target bronze, silver and gold – Sydney Morning Herald

Australia’s aerial ski queens Laura Peel and Danielle Scott headline a 44-strong Winter Olympics contingent tasked with bringing home “one of each” medal on offer in Beijing next month.

Peel and Scott were among 42 athletes unveiled by the Australian Olympic Committee on Sunday, with only two figure skating spots still to be announced.

Bobsledder Bree Walker headlines Australia’s top medal chances in Beijing next month.

Bobsledder Bree Walker headlines Australia’s top medal chances in Beijing next month. Credit:Instagram: @a_sto

The three-time Olympians have wrapped up successful World Cup seasons overseas and are two of Australia’s top medal contenders, with hopes this team can better the country’s 2018 Pyeongchang haul of two silver medals and one bronze.

“Our athletes and coaches have done a fantastic job and I’m really confident that our athletes have been given a great opportunity to succeed in Beijing,” chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said on Sunday.

“Our medal range has been from one to three – history shows us we’ve got five gold, five silver and five bronze so a great outcome would be one of each.”

Peel, the reigning world champion, landed one of the highest scoring jumps in women’s aerials history two weeks ago in the final World Cup event in the US, earning a score that would have put her on the podium in the men’s event on the same day.

Skier Laura Peel will also be among Australia’s great medal hopes.

Skier Laura Peel will also be among Australia’s great medal hopes.Credit:AP

She is also only the third woman to execute a quadruple twisting triple somersault, a jump she performed in training earlier this month and is considering deploying in competition in Beijing.

“It’s been a massive dream of mine. I saw [Australian Olympian] Lydia Lassila do it at my first Games in Sochi,” Peel said.

“It’s been a little while since then. A lot of work has gone into it. I hope to do some more, fine tune it a little bit, and get a few more numbers under my belt.”

She will take her time to decide whether to use it in competition.

“We’ve got to go to the Games and see how the site is, see how I’m jumping, see how the weather is, see how the field performs,” Peel said.

“In terms of whether it’s needed or not, I think we’ve got a stacked field – everybody stepped it up this year leading into the Games so I very well may.”

China will provide a wholly artificial surface for these Olympics, a factor Scott said required extra care.

“The snow is pretty harsh because it is man-made, so you have to make sure there is a good layer of wax on your skis or it can actually eat into your ski base,” she said. “I think if you’re prepared it will be fine but maybe it will be a good thing because there won’t be any fresh snowfall, which does affect our performance.”

Scott and Peel are among eight mogul athletes and three aerial skiers – a quarter of the overall team – named to compete in the green and gold, with Australia maxing out their quota of four men and women in the moguls.

Australia’s 2022 Winter Olympics team

Tahli Gill*, Dean Hewitt* (Curling); Brendan Corey* (Short-track); Kiera Reddingius*, Bree Walker* (Bobsleigh); Alex Ferlaz (Luge); Jackie Narracott, Nick Timmings* (Skeleton); Abi Harrigan* (Freeski); Sami Kennedy-Sim (Ski-Cross), Jakara Anthony, Sophie Ash*, Britt Cox, Matt Graham, James Matheson, Taylah O’Neill, Brodie Dale Summers, Cooper Woods* (Moguls); Gabi Ash*, Laura Peel, Danielle Scott (Aerials); Madi Hoffman, Louis Muhlen-Schulte, Katie Parker, Greta Small  (Alpine Skiing); Phil Bellinham, Seve de Campo*, Casey Wright, Jessica Yeaton, Lars Young Vik*, Hugo Hinckfuss* (Cross-Country Skiing); Josie Baff*, Cam Bolton, Belle Brockhoff, Adam Dickson*, Jarryd Hughes, Adam Lambert (Snowboard Cross); Emily Arthur, Valentino Guseli*, Scotty James (Snowboard Halfpipe), Tess Coady, Matthew Cox* (Snowboard Slopestyle & BIg Air). *Debut

In that group, reigning silver medallist Matt Graham and Brodie Summers both return for their third Olympics, while Jakara Anthony will go to Beijing ranked third in the world with eight podium finishes under her belt from this season alone.

Graham has overcome a broken collarbone to make the team and defend his 2018 silver medal. He haS trained in a purpose-built facility in Brisbane over the past few months to make it back.

Siblings Sophie (mogul) and Gabi (aerial) Ash headline a list of 20 athletes making their Olympic debut, 16-year-old snowboarder Valentino Guseli the youngest among them.

Bobsleigh pilot and medal hope Bree Walker was named in the monobob and two-person bobsleigh, with brake-woman Kiara Reddingius, overcoming a public challenge from two-person bobsleigh pilot Ashleigh Werner, who appeared to claim the spot before the team announcement.


The group will have pushed through a pandemic and put aside security fears to converge on Beijing for the Winter Olympics. Many have not been back to Australia in more than two years and will perform in front of an audience comprised of Chinese Communist Party officials after the Omicron wave of COVID-19 forced the Beijing Organising Committee to shut out even Chinese citizens.

Peel said the past two years had most athletes well-prepared for the final push into competition.

“It’s been a long time now that we’ve been dealing with COVID and competition,” she said. “You need a negative test to enter a competition so we’re really used to all the precautions, we’re really used to our own company, and I think we’ve had success in those circumstances before. I’m sure we’ll be able to manage it and bring our best to Beijing.”

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