Australia at the Winter Olympics
Australia’s representation at the Olympic Winter Games commenced in 1936 at Garmisch- Partenkirchen, and since that time, the country has sent a team to all Winter Olympics except for the post-World War II Games in St Moritz, Switzerland in 1948.
Remarkably, Australian athletes have medalled at the past four Olympic Winter Games starting with a short track relay bronze in Lilehammer in 1994. Already the 2010 Team has won a gold and silver from Torah and Dale, which brings Australia's Olympic Winter medal tally to four gold, 1 silver and three bronze.
Torah Bright (2010, halfpipe)
Dale Begg-Smith (2006, moguls)
Alisa Camplin (2002, aerials)
Steven Bradbury (2002, 1000m short track)
Dale Begg-Smith (2010, moguls)
Alisa Camplin (2006, aerials)
Zali Steggall (1998, slalom)
Steven Bradbury, Kieran Hansen, Andrew Murtha, Richard Nizielski (5000m Short track relay)
For a more detailed look at Australia at the Olympic Winter Games read below.
2006 - Torino, Italy
Australia sent its largest ever team of 40 athletes to Torino in 2006, competing across 10 sports. Dale Begg-Smith went into the Games ranked the world number one in men's mogul skiing and he produced his best when it mattered most, blazing the tough field and winning gold for Australia. The women's aerial skiing was the scene of highs and lows for the Australian team. Alisa Camplin won a remarkable bronze, her second Olympic medal but there was a devastating injury to teammate Lydia Lassila. To read more about the 2006 team, click here>>>
2002 - Salt Lake City, USA
The Salt Lake Winter Games will go down in the annals of Australian sporting history. In spite of losing the country’s best medal hope, Jacqui Cooper, to injury at the start of the Games, the 2002 team left Utah with two gold medals. The country’s very first gold went to short track speed skater Steven Bradbury in bizarre circumstances, the four-time Olympian the last man standing on the final bend of the 1000m. Two days later aerial skier Alisa Camplin became the first Australian woman to win a gold medal and the first Australian to win a skiing gold medal. For a short but glorious period, Australia led Austria on the medal tally (and ended the Games with the same number of gold medals). Several other top ten and Australian-best performances were recorded by the team, Jenny Owens skiing to ninth place in the combined and Craig Branch posting a 27th placing in the super G. Alice Jones was 27th in the women’s downhill, an equal best effort for Australia, and Anthony Liu achieved another equal best with 10th place in the men’s figure skating. Other top ten results came from Lydia Ierodiaconou with eighth in the women’s aerials and Steven Bradbury with 10th in the new event of men’s 1500m individual short track.
1998 - Nagano, Japan
Australia went to the Nagano Games with more realistic medal hopes than ever before. Freestyle skiers Kirstie Marshall and Jacqui Cooper were among the favourites for aerial skiing gold, but were unable to produce the goods on the day, missing the final. But Zali Steggall, skiing in her third Olympics, fulfilled Australia’s long-cherished dream of an invididual Winter Games medal, taking the bronze in slalom with a superb performance under immense pressure. Joanne Carter, just 17 and in her first Olympic Games, placed 12th in the ladies figure skating, the best result by an Australian in the Ladies competition, and when field size was taken into account, the best by any Australian skater. The bobsleigh pair of Jason Giobbi and Adam Barclay finished 22nd in the two man event, also the best performance by an Australian bobsleigh team in 2-man competition.
1994 - Lillehammer, Norway
In Lillehammer, Australia finally broke through for a Winter Olympic medal, the short track relay team of Steven Bradbury, Kieran Hansen, Richard Nizielski and Andrew Murtha claiming bronze behind Italy and the USA. The 27-member team also produced four other top ten placings – sixth to Kirstie Marshall in aerials, eighth to Kerryn Rim in the 15km biathlon, and eighth to Steven Bradbury and 10th to Richard Nizielski in 500m short track. For Chef de Mission Geoff Henke, it was a sixth and final Olympic Winter Games.
1992 - Albertville, France
In Albertville, Diane Ogle became our first luge competitor, moguls and short track became full medal sports, and Kirstie Marshall contested the demonstration sport of freestyle aerials. Our short track relay team went to the Games as reigning world champions, but a fall in the semi-final put them out of the final and medal contention. Paul Narracott made Australian sporting history, becoming the first person to represent his country at both a Winter and Summer Games. A member of the 2-man bobsleigh team, he had also run the 100m at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
1988 - Calgary, Canada
In Calgary, the team had increased to 18 members, and for the first time, there were competitors in both bobsleigh and ice dancing, and also athletes contesting the demonstration sports of freestyle moguls and short track speed skating. For Colin Coates, skating in the 10,000m, it was a sixth Winter Games.
1984 - Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
The Sarajevo Games saw the debut of Steven Lee, who finished 19th in the downhill, and went on to represent his country in a further two Winter Olympics. The following year, Lee won Australia’s second World Cup skiing event, a Super G, in Furano, Japan. The 1984 Games also witnessed the country’s first biathlon representative, Andrew Paul.
1980 - Lake Placid, USA; 1976 - Innsbruck, Austria; 1972 - Sapporo, Japan
At the 1972 Games in Sapporo, Japan, Milne was one of just four team members, but at the following Games, the team had started to grow again, eight members marching in the opening ceremony in 1976 in Innsbruck, then ten in Lake Placid, USA, in 1980. Lake Placid saw Australia’s first and – until Torino – only female cross country competitor, Colleen Bolton.
1968 - Grenoble, France; 1964 - Innsbruck, Austria
The 1964 Innsbruck Olympics were a tragedy for the Australian team, with 17-year-old Victorian alpine skier Ross Milne killed in practice for the downhill event. With his close friend and fellow downhill racer Peter Brockhoff pulling out of the Games, just four Australians competed, all in alpine skiing. Inspired by the fate of his brother, Malcolm fought his way into the team for the next Games, in Grenoble, the sole Australian alpine skier. Aged 19, he finished 24th in the downhill and the slalom, the best results ever recorded by an Australian skier at the time, the slalom placing still the best by any Australian male. Grenoble was also the first of six Games for speed skater Colin Coates.
1960 - Squaw Valley, USA; 1956 - Cortina, Italy
In 1956, in Cortina, Italy, the team size was ten, with Christine Davy the first woman to represent Australia in alpine skiing. The following Games, held in Squaw Valley, saw a 31-member team, thanks to the presence of the only ice hockey team Australian has ever fielded. The 1960 Games also saw the only Australian to compete in the nordic combined discipline, with Hal Nerdal finishing 31st in the dual cross country skiing and ski jumping event.
1952 - Oslo, Norway
No Games were held in 1940 or 1944 due to the Second World War, and Australia did not send a team to the 1948 Games in St Moritz. But in 1952, in Oslo, nine athletes marched under the Australian flag – three in alpine skiing, two in cross country, three in figure skating and one in speed skating. One of the figure skaters was Gweneth Molony, whose daughter, Joanne Henke, also represented Australia, in alpine skiing in the 1976 Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
1936 - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Kenneth Kennedy was Australia’s first Winter Olympic representative, competing in the long track speed skating events in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Kennedy finished 29th out of a field of 36 in the 500 metres, and placed 33rd in both the 1500m and the 5000m.