(ATR) Brisbane, Australia will host the Southern Hemisphere’s first year-round ski jumping hill according to the Australian Olympic Committee.
The facility will also host aerials and moguls skiers, in an attempt to bolster Australia’s winter sports prowess. It will be an extension of the current Sleeman Sports Center facility in Brisbane.
The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, both the Australian and Queensland governments, and the Australian Olympic Committee will manage the project. The Queensland government is providing the land for the facility, while the federal government and AOC are providing funding, according to a release.
Brisbane’s location was chosen as a site that could accommodate winter athletes throughout the year, and the facility will serve as a home base for winter sports athletes and sport tourists.
"At the elite level this will eliminate a competitive disadvantage, allowing Australian athletes to train at home that provides a critical edge," Geoff Henke, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia chair, said in a statement. "It also provides a talent pathway to identify and develop talent from the grassroots up to ensure Winter Sports continue to grow.
"After working to develop this project for a long time, my heartfelt thanks go to the Federal Government and AOC for the funding, the Queensland Government who have provided a home for this world-class facility and the Australian Institute of Sport for ongoing support in developing winter athletes."
Australia sent 50 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang winning two silver and one bronze medals. Eight of Australia’s 15 Winter Olympics medals have come from freestyle skiing.
Federal Sports Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie said in a statement the facility was a "game changer" for Australia’s freestyle skiing community. McKenzie added that the facility will make up for inherent "training disadvantages" Australian athletes have in the sport.
"Having that home base is so important – both for performance and to provide for a more balanced life close to your family and support group," Lydia Lassila, gold medalist in freestyle skiing at the Vancouver Olympics, said in a statement.
"This ramp will be the best in the world and showcase the spectacular feats of winter athletes – having Australian kids see Winter Olympians in action in the flesh will make it so much more tangible and help inspire our next generation."
Written by Aaron Bauer
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