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Skiers speeding towards alpine success at PyeongChang

Published 25 January 2018 (AEDT)

© Getty Images

ALPINE SKIING: Greta Small and Dominic Demschar are off to their second Olympic Games after being selected to wear the green and gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

22-year-old Small lined up in all five alpine events on Olympic debut at Sochi and will again be entered into all five disciplines four years on.

“I am very excited and proud to be selected to represent Australia at my second Olympics,” she said.

“They only come around every four years and I’ve been working extremely hard and gave it my all, physically and mentally, to come back from injury and qualify so I’m stoked to say I’ve made the Team.

“I am a more experienced and a stronger all round athlete than four years ago in Sochi so I am definitely aiming for better results this time around.”

Having recorded some strong results including a 15th place finish in the Super G in Sochi, Small has overcome plenty of adversity in recent years after two injuries disrupted the majority of both her 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.

She returned to competition in December and is now ready to speed towards more Olympic success in a little over a fortnight’s time.

“After a really tough three years missing two full race seasons due to knee injuries I am very proud and humbled to be on the Team.

“It’s been a bumpy roller coaster ride to get to this point but because of that I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve become so much stronger and overcome more than I thought I was capable of three years ago.

“Hard work pays off and I know the best is yet to come.”

The young gun got the chance to check out the giant slalom and slalom courses in early 2017 and is ready to lay it all out there.

“I have raced multiple times in Yongpyong, the tech venue, and it’s a very steep hill with a constant pitch. It also has a longer steep pitch than most men’s World Cup hills so it should be an exciting race.

“I’m yet to race at the speed venue at Jeongseon but watching the World Cup last year it’s a fast start with lots of terrain and about five big jumps.”

Tech specialist Demschar will join Small in Olympic competition again in PyeongChang and is pumped to be getting the chance to again represent Australia on sport’s greatest stage.  

“I’m really happy to have qualified for my second Olympic team as it was one of my major goals to start the season and I’m glad to have reached it,” he said.

The 24-year-old finished 39th in the giant slalom and did not finish the second run of slalom event in Sochi. He is confident he can better those results in PyeongChang.

“I’m much better prepared this time around as four years ago as I was a little wide-eyed.

“I feel that I know much more of what to expect and I am ready for it.

“I’m feeling good in the lead up to the Games with things coming together nicely, so the goal is definitely to improve on my results from Sochi.”

Small kicks off her campaign on Day 3 of the Games (February 12)  in the women’s giant slalom while Demschar will wait until Day 9 (February 18) to tackle the men’s giant slalom.

Australia’s best result in an Olympic Alpine event came at the Nagano 1998 Games when Zali Stegall claimed slalom bronze. Since Bob Arnott, Bill Day and Barry Patten became the first Australians to compete in the sport at the 1952 Oslo Games, Australia has had a total of 45 alpine skiers line up in Olympic competition. 

UPDATE: 2012 Youth Olympian Harry Laidlaw will make his Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018 after quota reallocation on January 26 saw five more athletes selected on the Team, taking the alpine skiing contingent to 3 athletes. Find out more HERE.

Matt Bartolo
olympics.com.au

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