This year's Winter games in PyeongChang are shaping up to be an absolute ripper, and as always the XTM team is super excited to be getting involved and supporting our athletes.

The Australian team might not be the biggest we've ever fielded, but we reckon it could possibly be the best.

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With 24 dual Olympians, five triple Olympians, a four time Olympian and probably Australia's greatest ever winter sportsperson Lydia Lassilla making her fifth Olympic appearance, you can see why words like 'best credentialed' team ever are getting thrown around.

We thought we'd put together a bit of a retrospective on Australia's history at the Winter Olympics because there is a really cool story behind the talent we are seeing today that we should all be proud of.

So sit down, pour yourself a cuppa (or some soju if you're wanting to get in the cultural mood) and get a bit of history in you, XTM style.

It's undeniable that the love of sport plays a huge role in Australian culture, and snow sports are no exception to this national affiliation. Our successes in the winter realm have been a bit more slow burning compared to the summer counterpart.

Australia's debut winter Olympics was in 1936 at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen games in Germany. We had a few successes in the early years, but it was in the late 1980's when the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia officially got up and running, that our winter sports atheletes got a much needed boost to the training and administrative support available.

In 1994, things really started to kick off when we sent one of our largest teams to the games in Finland, with 27 athletes competing and high hopes for podium finishes in speed skating, downhill and aerial skiing events.

It was a cracking effort by our Aussies, who until that point had been the under-dogs. The short track speed skating relay team ended up coming through with the goods. Made up of Richard Nizielski, Kieran Hansen and the enigmatic Steven Bradbury, the team took out Australia's first ever Winter Olympic medal with a well-earned third position, thereby netting the bronze.

Altogether in 1994 the Aussies took out an awesome five top 10 finishes, by far our best result at any winter games up until that point.  

There were high hopes for our athletes at the Nagano Olympics in 1998, and one medal result did eventuate. Fresh from winning the world cup, women's downhill slalom skier Zali Steggall, took out the bronze for her event, thereby nabbing Australia another Olympic medal.

Four years later in 2002 we came to the Salt Lake City games with a smaller team, competing in only five sports. However, these games proved to be our golden goose, with the legendary Steven Bradbury taking out gold for his strategic run at the 1000 meter short track speed skating.

In an unlikely turn of events that has be immortalised in Australian sporting history, Bradbury came from behind after several of the front runners crashed during the final lap.

Under slightly less dramatic, though equally celebrated circumstances, the wonderful Alisa Camplin also took out the gold in the women's aerials, starting a bit of a tradition of Australian dominance in the event (and inspiring a lot of great talent as you will hear in our athlete interview series).

Alisa Camplin wins gold
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At the 2006 in Torino we sent 40 athletes to compete in 10 sports, a record number at the time. Expectations were high for the likes of Lydia Lassila, Alisa Camplin and Jacqui Cooper in the women's aerials, Dale Begg-Smith in the men's moguls, Torah Bright in the snowboarding half-pipe, and Damon Hayler in the men’s snowboard cross.

Dale came out on top in his event, bringing Australia its third gold medal, while Alisa went back-to-back podium finishes, scoring a bronze in the women's aerials. Torah also foreshadowed her future success with a solid fifth place in the ladies halfpipe.

Things kept getting better for the Aussies and at the Vancouver games in 2010 we walked away with two gold medals and one silver, with a further seven finishes in the top ten.

Torah Bright came back with a vengeance and won gold in the pipe, throwing down an unbeatable second run to blow away her competitors.

Lydia Lassila nabbed her first Olympic medal, taking out gold to go with her title as the then reigning world cup champion.

In his debut winter games,  Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin had a sweet qualification time, but unfortunately crashed out during his finals run.

Athletes faced tough weather conditions at the 2014 winter games in Sochi, with low snow quality creating slushy slopes and poor circumstances for the competition.

Despite the conditions, some of our biggest winter Olympians competed and shone through, including Torah Bright, David Morris, Chumpy Pullin, Belle Brockhoff, Kent Callister and of course Lydia Lassila.

2014 Olympics

David took home the silver for his event in the aerials, and Torah absolutely threw down once again in the ladies halfpipe, bagging a silver medal to go with her gold from Vancouver in 2010.

But the biggest story of the games was from Lydia Lassia, who pulled off a massive quad twisting triple somersault in the aerials final, the first time the trick had ever been performed in the women's event. The monumental effort earned her an Olympic bronze medal and a place amongst the greats of winter sports.

Which brings us to today and the beginning of the PyeongChang winter games.

We’re backing our athletes all the way, veterans and rookies alike.

And we’re confident that in years to come we'll be looking back on our 2018 Olympians as a true team of champions.

XTM’s own Al Dower will be on the ground in Pyeongchang for the Games, cheering on the team and sending back all the news as it happens. Subscribe to our news for all the latest updates and interviews. Want the latest updates to your inbox? Sign up to receive Olympic news and athlete videos.

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