Winter Olympics opening a proud day for Australia
Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Bridget McKenzie, has wished Australia’s Winter Olympic team the best of luck for the Games which officially opened in PyeongChang, South Korea, overnight.
“Australians can be justifiably proud when Scotty James leads the Australian team in as our flag-bearer for the Winter Olympics opening ceremony tonight,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Scotty is coming in fresh from successfully defending his World Championship crown and taking out Gold at the 2016/17 World Cup Series to compete for gold in the Men’s Snowboard Half-Pipe. I couldn’t think of a more deserving athlete to represent Australia as the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony.
“It’s incredible that 20 of the 51 athletes on this Australian team will experience the feeling of becoming an Olympian for the first time.
“From our youngest athlete, 17-year-old snowboarder Tess Coady, to Olympic gold medallist and mother of two Lydia Lassila competing at a fifth Olympics Games, this is a team that proudly represents the best of Australia’s winter sport talent.
“I wish the entire Australian team good luck and look forward to watching you all compete in PyeongChang.”
The Australian Government, via the Australian Sports Commission and AIS, has invested more than $16 million over the past four years to assist winter sports and athletes in their preparations for these Games.
Minister McKenzie said Australia’s Olympic athletes are a source of inspiration.
“Australians have a great love of snow and winter sports and our Winter Olympians represent those aspirations,” Senator McKenzie said.
“AusPlay data from the Australian Sports Commission shows more than 300,000 Australian adults participate each year in ski, snowboard and ice sports. Many of our winter athletes would have started their journey to the top of their sport as a result of family holidays to ski fields.”
Australians will compete in 10 of the 15 Olympic sports in PyeongChang. It is the second largest team Australia has fielded at a Winter Olympics and boasts world champions like Britt Cox (Moguls), as well as previous Olympic medallists Lydia Lassila and David Morris (both Aerial Skiing). Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian, Harley Windsor will also make his debut in Pairs Figure Skating with partner Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya.
“The whole nation will be cheering you on.”