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Aussies ready for Winter Olympic action

13 February 2010

Four Australians are in action tomorrow on Day 1 of competition at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

Alpine Skiing

Craig Branch and Jono Brauer will be the first to don the green and gold, when they contest the men’s downhill.

Local hero Manuel Osbourne Paradis is Canada’s first chance of a gold medal at these Olympics, which will in turn, be Canada’s first gold on home soil.

He will have strong competition from Downhill World Cup leader Dider Cuche of Switzerland who goes into the event as the overwhelming favourite off the back of his victory in Kitzbul.

Mogul Skiing

The youngest athlete to represent Australia at a Winter Games for more than 50 years will make her Olympic debut tomorrow in Vancouver.

Fifteen-year-old mogul skier Britteny Cox will tackle the bumps of Cypress Mountain just a few weeks after making her World Cup debut.

The Falls Creek skier is looking forward to the experience, and treating it just like that - as a great experience for the future.

Cox's Coach, Peter Topalovic previewed Cox’s preparation.

"Britteny has had four days of training on the moguls course at Cypress, and I am really happy with her performance,” Topalovic said. “She has been improving each day in training, which shows she is thriving in the Olympic environment.

“Britteny has handled herself incredibly well here in Vancouver. I need to remember she is only 15-years-of-age, she should handle the extra Olympic pressure well.

"The weather will play a big part in tomorrow's results. It will play on the athlete's minds all day and play a big part in deciding the winner.”

Cox said she was looking forward to competing tomorrow.

“I have felt very comfortable on the course, my first day of training went well, then I feel I have improved each day,” Cox said.

“They are predicting tough conditions, but I have competed in similar weather in the past, so I am not concerned.

“Tomorrow I have no result expectations for myself, my aim will be to put down a top-to-bottom run and the results should follow.”

Hometown heroine Jen Heil will be out to create her own piece of history, attempting to become the first person to win back to back freestyle skiing Olympic medals.

Though there have been repeat medallists in moguls and aerials before - the most notable being Norwegian bumps star Kari Traa who has a complete set from three Olympic Games - no one has managed to win successive gold.

Heil's major opposition will come from Japanese skier Aiko Uemura and a group of US skiers - Heather McPhie, Hannah Kearney, Shannon Bahrke and Kristi Richards, who are currently ranked two, three, four and five.

Short Track Speed Skating

The final Australian in action on day 1 is Tatiana Borodulina who will contest the heats of the women’s 500 metres in the short track event at Pacific Colisieum.

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