We are but days away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and Australia will be represented by 51 athletes.
For a country that is mostly desert and a few world-class surf beaches, Australia really has no right to compete for medals at the Winter Olympics. So is our ability to punch above our weight on the world sporting stage however, that we have managed to make the podium 12 times since Lillehammer in 1994.
Did you know that Steve Bradbury has medalled twice? Not only did he break-through for Australia’s first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics, he was also instrumental in our first-ever medalling effort!
Before all the action gets underway in Korea this weekend, check out all 12 Australian medals at the Winter Olympics in order, right here!
Men’s 5000m Speed Skating Relay Bronze – Lillehammer 1994
Australia had never medalled at the Winter Olympics leading into the 1994 games in Lillehammer, but we were offered a perfect opportunity to break the drought when the team of Steve Bradbury, Kieran Hansen, Andrew Murtha and Richard Nizielski made the final of the Men’s 5000m Speed Skating Relay.
The Italians absolutely jogged in for Gold, but boy was this a well-earned Bronze.
Zali Steggall – Women’s Slalom Bronze – Nagano 1998
Zali Steggall became the first Australian to claim a solo medal at the Winter Olympics when she took Bronze in the Women’s Slalom at Nagano in 1998. Having entered the Games as a genuine medal chance, the Sydneysider was unlucky not to claim Gold, having finished only 0.27 seconds behind the winning time of Germany’s Hilde Gerg.
Steggall remains Australia’s most internationally-successful alpine skier, having also won a World Championship Gold Medal in 1999.
Steve Bradbury – Men’s 1000m Speed Skating Gold – Salt Lake City 2002
One of the most memorable moments in Australian sporting history took place at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, when Steve Bradbury took Gold in the Men’s 1000m speed skating.
Everyone knows the story, but in short Bradbury overcame a classy field including odds-on favourite Apolo Anton Ohno to win the race with complete ease, in what was a never-in-doubt-like scenario.
To be fair, Bradbury’s tactic was to hang off the back of the pack and hope a couple of blokes fell. It’s actually a smart thing to do in a sport like speed skating.
Alisa Camplin – Women’s Aerials Gold – Salt Lake City 2002
Alisa Camplin doubled Australia’s tally at Salt Lake City in 2002 when she literally flew home to win Gold in the Women’s Aerials.
Camplin’s games preparation was thrown into turmoil when she broke her ankles just six weeks out from the competition; making her Gold Medal performance amongst the best and toughest in Australian sporting history.
Dale Begg-Smith – Men’s Moguls Gold – Turin 2006
Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Naomi Watts – There’s nothing more Australian than claiming someone famous to be our own, who isn’t actually from this country.
Canadian-come-Aussie Dale Begg-Smith has to be towards the top of that list, having medalled twice at the Winter Olympics, including his sensational Gold Medal in the Men’s Moguls at Turin in 2006.
Alisa Camplin – Women’s Aerials Bronze – Turin 2006
In a sport plagued by continual injuries, Camplin was forced to undergo a knee reconstruction in 2005 following a serious injury – once again limiting her Games preparation.
Having trained for only eleven weeks leading into the Turin Games, Camplin produced a score of 96.40 on her second run to work into the medals. By claiming Bronze, Camplin became the first Australian skier to win medals at consecutive Winter Olympics.
Torah Bright – Women’s Halfpipe Gold – Vancouver 2010
Torah Bright became the first Australian to win a medal in Snowboarding when she produced a Gold Medal performance to take Gold in the Women’s Halfpipe event in Vancouver.
Bright absolutely dominated the X-Games circuit leading up to the Vancouver Games, but after crashing out in her first run in the Olympic final, justified her number 1 qualification tag when returning a score of 45.0 in her second run.
Lydia Lassila – Women’s Aerials Gold – Vancouver 2010
Lydia Lassila continued Australia’s outstanding form in the Women’s Aerials event by taking the Gold Medal at Vancouver in 2010.
Ranked World Number 1 leading into the Vancouver Games, Lassila weathered extreme pressure from the Australian press and produced a textbook second jump to comfortably win Gold.
Dale Begg-Smith – Men’s Moguls Silver – Vancouver 2010
At Vancouver in 2010, Begg-Smith returned to defend his title in the Men’s Moguls and managed to come away with a Silver Medal – Australia’s first ever at the Winter Olympics.
Many believed that Begg-Smith’s Silver run was in fact good enough to take Gold, but regardless of the result, his performance was enough to complete Australia’s best-ever showing at a Winter Olympics – 13th overall.
Torah Bright – Women’s Halfpipe Silver – Sochi 2014
Bright returned to the Olympics at Sochi in 2014, but this time represented Australia in an unprecedented triple of Halfpipe, Boardercross and the inaugural Women’s Slopestyle event.
Having finished seventh in the Slopestyle final, Bright went close to becoming the first Australian to successfully defend Gold at the Winter Olympics, but finished second behind America’s Kaitlyn Farrington.
Lydia Lassila – Women’s Aerials Bronze – Sochi 2014
Lydia Lassila equalled the efforts of Alisa Camplin by taking Bronze in the Women’s Aerials at Sochi, four years after winning Gold.
Lassila’s consistency was enough to see her through to the third final and eventually the Bronze medal, despite a rough landing. Australia has therefore medalled in the Women’s Aerials at each of the four most-recent Winter Olympics.
David Morris – Men’s Aerials Silver – Sochi 2014
David Morris is Australia’s most-recent Winter Olympics Medallist, having taken Silver in the Men’s Aerials at the Sochi Games.
Morris snuck into the third final as the fourth qualifier, but kept his best jump of the games for the decider.