The Australian Olympic Committee is celebrating one year until the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
The Australian Team could number more than 50 athletes, joining 2800 international competitors on the world’s biggest winter sporting stage.
Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for Beijing, Geoff Lipshut, says today marks an important milestone for winter athletes.
"Right now across the country and around the world, Australian athletes are training and competing in pursuit of their Olympic dream," Mr Lipshut said.
"From athletes aiming for their fourth Games like Scotty James and Britt Cox to those striving for an Olympic debut, I’m excited for Australian winter athletes to reach this milestone on their Olympic journey.
"It’s a great testament to the athletes, their coaches, support staff, family, supporters and sporting federations, for backing them on this journey."
With a wealth of experience at the highest levels of winter sport as CEO of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia and a Team official at seven Olympics since Lillehammer 1994, Beijing will be Mr Lipshut’s first Games as Chef de Mission.
"Performance is my focus and that’s what our athletes are trying to focus on. That’s not easy right now given the difficulties of travelling and competing.
"We will continue to work to provide an environment where athletes have the opportunity to have their best day on their biggest day in 12 months’ time."
The Beijing 2022 Games will run from 4-22 February 2022, featuring 2800 athletes competing across 15 disciplines in 109 medal events.
AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll encouraged Australians to continue their support for Australian winter athletes.
"The PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018 saw a cumulative audience of more than 16 million Australians watch the Winter Olympics on Channel 7," Mr Carroll said.
"With a similar time-zone, I look forward to Australians getting behind their Team not only in 12 months’ time in Beijing, but following their qualification and competition over the next year to reach their Olympic goal.
"We’re thrilled to have Channel 7 bringing the Games live into Australian homes, to highlight the strength, courage, skills and tenacity of our Winter athletes.
"I also want to thank all of those groups that help make this Olympic dream a reality. The ongoing generosity of our Australian Olympic Team sponsor family, the immense work of winter sporting federations, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, and the support of Australian Institute of Sport and the state governments and their institutes of sport. All are essential in bringing together the Australian Olympic Team to proudly represent the country in Beijing in a year’s time."
28-year-old "Bobsled" Bree Walker is aiming to make her first Olympic Team in the two-person and mono-bob sleigh, with Beijing 2022 seeing the Olympic debut of women’s monobob. After winning seven of 11 races across the 2019/20 and 2021 seasons, including last week’s World Series event in Austria, Walker is focused on Beijing.
"It would mean everything to me to be able to walk out as part of the Team Australia in one year’s time," Walker said.
"Since missing out on PyeongChang in 2018 I made a vow that I not only wanted to go to Beijing, I wanted to be competitive. I’ve done everything possible to build towards this - and I think we've done a really good job of being able to achieve some really great results in such a challenging year."
The Queensland-based Walker, a promising hurdler, was inspired by Olympic champion’s Kim Brennan’s transition from hurdling to rowing, and decided to pursue her switch from the track to the ice.
"I want people to look outside the box, and see winter sports can offer incredible opportunities. The feeling of a great run in the bobsleigh is just incredible, it’s thrilling, there’s nothing like it.
"Athletes like Scotty James and Laura Peel are doing such a fantastic job showing Australians how incredible winter sports can be. If I can inspire one person to say, ‘I'll give winter sports ago’, I’ll have achieved my purpose of what I want to do as an athlete."
Triple Olympian mogul skier Britt Cox is celebrating one year to go in the snow, competing at the FIS Freestyle World Cup in Deer Valley, Utah.
"It would be a real privilege to represent Australia at a fourth Olympic Games," Cox said. "This Olympic cycle has been drastically different for me, in both how I’ve grown personally and adapting to the challenges of the pandemic.
"The last year has taught me to truly maximise every opportunity I do have to click into my skis as I strive to become the best skier I can be in a year’s time and I’m so eager for the opportunity to test myself once again on the biggest sporting stage."
The AOC is also launching its Beijing 2022 hashtag #ChasingWinter, showcasing winter athletes’ pursuit of their winter dreams.
#ChasingWinter will bring together content over the next 12 months showing athletes embracing the thrills and spills of their own unique Olympic journeys, highlighting athletes’ resilience in the face of challenges in the snow, on the ice and in the air.
Today also marks the day Australia will be formally invited to participated in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee, to be issued by President Bach later this evening.
For more information please contact Dom Sullivan at the AOC at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0421 423 582.
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games – Fast Facts
Australia at Beijing 2022
· Expected Team size of around 50 athletes, making it one of our biggest Teams (60 at Sochi 2014, 51 at PyeongChang 2018 two biggest Australian Teams)
· New events and Aussie firsts
· Women’s monobob (one-person bobsleigh) making its Olympic debut in 2022, as well as new mixed evens like mixed Snowboard Cross
· Australia is looking to send its first ever curlers to an Olympic Games – mixed doubles pair Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt
· Returning stars and new talent
· Several Olympians aiming to make their fourth Winter Olympics – including Scotty James and Britt Cox
· Young athletes looking to make their first games include 2020 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Josie Baff and 15-year-old snowboarder Valentino Guseli
· Australia has won 15 medals at the Winter Olympics – 5 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze
· Around 2800 athletes from more than 90 countries across 109 medal events in 15 disciplines
· Beijing becomes the first city to host both a Winter and Summer Olympics
· Run from 4 – 20 Feb 2022
· Competition venues
· All venues powered by 100% renewable energy
· 7 out of 12 venues are legacy venues from Beijing 2008, including the iconic Bird’s Nest National Stadium, which will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies; the Water Cube, which will host curling
· Seven new events -- women’s monobob, freestyle skiing big air (men’s and women’s), and mixed team events in short track speed skating team relay, ski jumping, freestyle skiing aerials and snowboard cross
· Three Competition Zones
· Beijing will host all the ice events (curling, ice hockey and skating) and four snow events (snowboard big air and freestyle skiing big air, men’s and women’s)
· Yanqing, a suburban district of Beijing (80km to the northwest will host the alpine skiing and sliding (bobsleigh, skeleton and luge) events.
· Zhangjiakou, further to the northwest in the neighbouring Hebei province, will host all the other snow events (snowboard, freestyle skiing, cross country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined and biathlon) in its Chongli district
As a service to our readers, Around the Rings will provide verbatim texts of selected press releases issued by Olympic-related organizations, federations, businesses and sponsors.
These press releases appear as sent to Around the Rings and are not edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation.
25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only