Australia team increased to 60 for Sochi
SYDNEY (AP) Australia has increased its Sochi Games contingent to 60 athletes and for the first time will have more females than males on its Olympic team.
The Australian Olympic Committee said Wednesday that the team would include 31 women and 29 men, a 50 percent increase overall in its squad from the 40 that attended Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010.
Following last week’s selection of 56 team members, 2010 snowboard halfpipe gold medalist Torah Bright qualified for a third event – snowboard cross – to add to her halfpipe and slopestyle competitions, following a re-allocation of country quotas.
Biathletes Alex Almoukov and Lucy Glanville, and Alpine skiers Emily Bamford and Lavinia Chrystal were also added.
Australia has set a target of four to five medals which would improve on the three-medal total it achieved at Vancouver four years ago.
Its best chances are likely to be Alex Pullin in snowboard cross, defending gold medalist Lydia Lassila in freestyle aerials, Bright in snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle and Russ Henshaw in ski slopestyle.
Jana Pittman, who won two world championships in the 400-meter hurdles, will become the first Australian woman to compete at a Summer and Winter Games after being selected in the two-woman bobsleigh.
Lassila will compete at her fourth Olympics while there are 43 first-time Olympians on the team.
The Sochi Games are from Feb. 7-23.