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Winter Youth Olympic Team ready for accelerated pathway

21 December 2011

After months of selection events the Australian Winter Youth Olympic Team has been finalised with a total of 13 athletes confirmed to take on the world's best teenagers in Innsbruck from 13-22 January.

The inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games will provide the platform for Australia's young stars to gauge their international standing, gain valuable big-event experience and determine their pathway on to senior representation at Sochi 2014 or PyeongChang 2018.

Dual Olympic aerial skiing medallist Alisa Camplin couldn’t be more qualified to lead the first Australian Winter Youth Olympic Team and she knows what an amazing opportunity this is for the talented group.

“The Winter Youth Olympic Games is the vehicle that will transform and accelerate our next group of winter superstars,” Camplin, who is Australia’s first female Chef de Mission, said.

“The emphasis for our athletes will be to perform at their best and we’re there to support them.  Team management will actively work with all athletes to help them convert lessons learnt into a clear road map to senior Olympic success.”

“We have expectations for some top results however I will ultimately judge my performance and that of the coaches on how many of these athletes are on the Sochi 2014 team and winning Olympic medals in 2018,” Camplin said.

Alpine racer Greta Small who bases herself in Austria for most of the year is only 16 and placed third in an open Nor Am Cup event in Canada this month. She is the first Australian to medal in that level of event since her hero - 1998 Olympic medallist Zali Steggall.

Alex Fitch, 16, was a finalist in the snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe at the world junior championships in 2011 and has since taken her skills and fitness to the next level, with the help of world champions Holly Crawford and Nate Johnstone.

Podium finishes for Australia’s winter athletes have never been more common with the senior freestyle skiing and snowboard teams winning four world titles in 2011. The next crop of athletes has plenty to aspire to.

Australia will be represented in 10 disciplines at Innsbruck 2012 from traditional Olympic winter events like cross country skiing through to the new freestyle events; ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle, that are being trialled ahead of their inclusion in Sochi.

In the Australian Team support and coaching staff there are six Olympians who can inject experience and actively help these athletes excel.

The Facts – the Games

•    13 – 22 January 2012
•    Innsbruck, Austria
•    1st Winter Youth Olympic Games
•    IOC initiative to engage with Youth
•    10 days of competition
•    1000+ athletes (14 - 18 years)
•    70+ National Olympic Committees
•    7 Sports & 15 Disciplines - 63 medal events
•    New events to debut ahead of full inclusion for Sochi 2014 including snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe
•    Modified events specifically for youth including ice hockey skills challenge and mixed gender events
•    Sport and Media experience to educate athletes and prepare them for elite senior sport and future Olympics
•    Emphasis from IOC on the Cultural and Education Program
•    Innsbruck to host a Games for a record third time (1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games)

The Facts – The Australian Team

•    13 athletes competing across 10 disciplines
•    Average age of athletes is 16
•    Chef de Mission – Alisa Camplin OAM (gold aerials Salt Lake City 2002, bronze aerials 2006)
•    First female Australian Chef de Mission
•    IOC Young Ambassador - 2010 Vancouver Olympian Ramone Cooper
•    18 officials including six Olympians – Alisa Camplin, Ramone Cooper, Hannah Campbell-Pegg, Monica MacDonald, Ben Sim, Brad Wall

The Athletes

Greta Small (16) Perth/Austria- Alpine Skiing
Harry Laidlaw (15) Melbourne/USA- Alpine Skiing/Ski Cross
Lachlan Porter (16) Cooma- Biathlon
Lucy Glanville (17) Sydney/Cooma- Cross Country Skiing
Alex Gibson (17) Melbourne- Cross Country Skiing
Chantelle Kerry (15) Sydney- Figure Skating
Sharnita Crompton (17) NSW Central Coast- Ice Hockey
Sam Hodic (15) Mornington Peninsula- Ice Hockey
Alex Ferlazzo (16) Townsville- Luge
Claudia Leggett (15) Brisbane- Ski Cross
Jack Millar (16) Wollongong- Ski Cross
Thomas Waddell (16) Jindabyne- Ski Halfpipe
Alex Fitch (16) NSW Central Coast- Snowboard Halfpipe and Slopestyle

The Officials

Alisa Camplin*- Chef de Mission            
Fiona de Jong- Chief Operating Officer
Ramone Cooper*- Young Ambassador

Brad Wall*- Alpine Skiing Coach
Toscha Stopar- Biathlon Coach
Ben Sim*- Cross Country Coach
Monica MacDonald*- Figure Skating Coach
Shawn Fleming- Freestyle Skiing Coach
Andrew Reynolds- Ice Hockey Coach
Hannah Campbell-Pegg*- Luge Coach
Ben Boyd- Snowboard and Halfpipe Coach


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