Winter Olympic Force

So which athletes have turned Australia into a winter Olympic force?

So which athletes have turned Australia into a winter Olympic force?

Australia is commonly known for success in the pool, on the bike, in athletics or rowing. Now Australia is becoming synonymous with success on ice and snow thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our athletes.

Remarkably, Australia has produced Winter Olympic medallists at the past six Games dating back to 1994 in Lillehammer. In total, ten Australian athletes have combined to claim 12 Olympic Winter Games medals across four disciplines.

Here is a timeline of our many successes:

Australia’s medal winning streak at the Olympic Winter Games began at Lillehammer 1994. At these Games Steven BradburyKieran HansenAndrew Murtha and Richard Nizielski created history by winning the first winter medal for Australia: a bronze in the 5000m short track relay. 

Four years later in Japan, Zali Steggall won alpine skiing bronze in the slalom event at Nagano 1998. 

Then in 2002, Bradbury had the world talking with his remarkable gold in the 1000m short track. In the now famous event, Bradbury trailed at the corner before a fall at the front of the pack allowed him to storm through and make history as Australia’s first Winter Olympic gold medallist.

We didn’t have to wait long to taste gold again however. Only a few days later, Alisa Camplin won aerial skiing gold on Olympic debut, making sure the Salt Lake Games were a memorable one for Australia.  

At the Torino 2006 Games, Camplin returned to win a superb bronze, but it was Dale Begg-Smith who stole the show this time as he secured moguls gold. 

At the Vancouver Games in 2010, Torah Bright won the snowboard halfpipe, making Australia’s first ever medal in halfpipe a gold one, while Lydia Lassila (Ierodiaconou) claimed top step on the podium in the aerials. Begg-Smith backed up his gold in Torino with a silver to help Australia earn its highest ever finish on a Winter Olympic medal tally, 13th.  

At the Sochi 2014 Games, Dave Morris clinched aerials silver, Bright was all smiles with halfpipe silver and Lassila won bronze, while attempting a jump no other women has ever attempted in competition. 

At youth level, after winning two bronze medals at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games at Innsbruck 2012, the Australian Team showed there is plenty of talent coming through the ranks by claiming five medals at Lillehammer 2016. Opening Ceremony flag bearer Emily Arthur, won Australia’s first medal, claiming silver in snowboard halfpipe. This was followed by silver in the snowboard cross to Alex Dickson and ski cross silver to Zali Offord. Speed skater Julia Moore also captured a silver as part of the Mixed NOC Team in the 3000m relay event while Louis Muhlen rounding out the medals with a ski cross bronze.

The present crop of Aussie talent however is eager not to be outshone by our stars of the future and prospects look bright in the lead up to Pyeongchang. The past few years has seen some fantastic results in Winter sports, as our athletes have established themselves among the best in the world. Scotty James grabbed his first major title at the age of 20, winning the Snowboard World Championships in Austria in 2015.

Australia went one-two in the snowboard cross at the X games in February 2016, with Jarryd Hughes beating out Alex Pullin for gold, while Belle Brockhoff has competed strongly across all competitions.  

James followed up his 2015 success, winning gold in the Superpipe at the X Games in Aspen to start 2017, while moguls skiers Matt Graham and Britt Cox and aerials stars Lydia Lassila and Danielle Scott have all stood on top of the World Cup podium during the 2016/17 season.

If this form is anything to go by, Australia has a lot to look forward to at Pyeongchang in 2018.