A look at Australia’s medal history at the Winter Olympics
AUSTRALIA’S first Winter Olympic medal came courtesy of the short track skating team in 1994 at Lillehammer.
The team consisted of Steven Bradbury, Kieran Hansen, Andrew Murtha and Richard Nizielski and they secured their podium position in the men’s 5000 metre relay.
At the 1998 Nagano games in Japan, Zali Steggall became our first individual winter medalist capturing bronze in the women’s slalom.
This was no small feat considering the might and strength of the European and North American teams.
Australia’s first moment of golden glory came at Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002 where Steve Bradbury would enter into Australian folklore winning our inaugural gold medal.
Most Australian fans will forever remember this moment as the leading skaters crashed on the final turn in the men’s 1000 metre short track skating event, and Bradbury, who did not have the leg speed to keep up, cruised over the line in astonishment to become a Winter Olympic gold medalist.
As Australia celebrated, a pint sized pocket rocket aerial skier named Alisa Camplin, who had never won a World Cup, stepped up to the jump after teammate and event favourite Jacqui Cooper succumbed to injury earlier in the games.
There were no expectations on Camplin, but with a nerve of steel, she soared into the history books and Australian hearts at the Deer Valley site becoming our second gold medalist.
As she shed tears in the finish area her mother, who she did not know was at the event was passed through the crowd and lifted into the front row to celebrate with her joyful daughter.
At the Torino 2006 games, a young Canadian born mogul skier, Dale Begg-Smith who was skiing for Australia, showed perfect execution in the bumps and overcame much controversy to set down a glorious final run and capture gold in the Italian Alps. Camplin would secure her second Olympic medal winning a bronze in aerials.
In Vancouver 2010, Australia had its most successful campaign with Torah Bright and Lydia Lassila both capturing gold medals and Dale Begg-Smith winning a close fought silver medal.
Torah Bright, the new golden girl of Australian snow who had placed fifth in halfpipe at Torino had a disastrous first run in the Vancouver final to be sitting last. Starting first in the second run, Bright landed every jump and scored highly and patiently waited as her competitors tried to better her score.
They could not oust Bright from the top position and that trademark smile beamed across Australia and the world as the Olympic champion.
Lydia Lassila (née Ierodiaconou) had never had luck on her side, with a crash at Torino in 2006 that ended her campaign with a knee injury.
In 2010 the Vancouver air suited her to a tee and the then current World Cup champion etched her name into the record books with a superb final jump to take gold.
In Russia for the 2014 Sochi games, Lassila performed the demanding quad twisting triple somersault that no other woman had ever attempted.
Her execution was not perfect but she still captured a bronze medal to cement her standings as one of the alltime great aerial skiers.
Fellow aerial team member, the effervescent David Morris would win silver, coming from the clouds to unexpectedly reach the podium for a silver medal.
Torah Bright would become Australia’s most successful Winter Olympian capturing a silver medal in Russia in the women’s halfpipe to add to her 2010 gold medal.