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Australia’s Success at the Winter Olympics Yes (and No) Tells You What

Australian Letters is a weekly newsletter from our Australia office. Registration to get it by email. This week’s issue is written by Manan Luthraan intern in the Australian office.

On Sunday, the 2022 Winter Olympics will end. For Team Australia, its medal tally is small but significant. It has claimed four wins as of Friday, its most ever at the Winter Olympics, putting Australia 17th in the medal standings, six places up from last place in the tournament. 2018. The distance includes a number of firsts for the country. Jake Anthony’s yellow in the magnates of women, Jaclyn Narracott’s silver in the skeletons of women and of Tess Coady copper in women’s ski swimming were the first Olympic medals won by Australia in those disciplines.

Seeing all of Australia’s medals in a warm Sydney summer is both jarring and exciting. Our country is often obsessed with sports more suited to our warmer weather – cricket, tennis, swimming. Has that changed? Can Australia really become a snowsports country? At the Olympics and just in general?

The Australian Olympic team’s campaign begins on fertile ground. Even before the 44-member team left for China, News of the strong individual competitors for the 2021 season and the record high female representative won the local excitement, as well as the Olympic debut of the marbles and singles teams. On day four of the Games, Jakera Anthony and Tess Coady claimed their two medals, giving Australia its best start in a Winter Olympics. A silver medal in the men’s semi-final, won by Scotty James five days later, drew Australia even with the previous Winter Olympics best. Narracott’s silver medal then pushed the team into territory of unimaginable success.

Three other Australians fell just short of a medal: Belle Brockhoff finished fourth in snowboarding, Bree Walker finished fifth in bobsled, and Laura Peel also finished fifth, in air skiing.

All the recent wins and performances have come in front of huge audiences back home, at least on television. Seven West Media, Australia’s official broadcaster of the Olympics, is most viewed free broadcast network for the first week of the event; During that time, more than 500,000 households watched Olympic television every day. And it wasn’t just the television crowd that got in on the action. See the parties organized by Snow Australia brought former athletes and winter sports enthusiasts to the Olympics.

But what does all of this mean for Australian snow sports?

At the international level, Australia’s achievements have made its winter athletes recognized as world class. Snow Australia’s chief executive officer, Michael Kennedy, told me that Australia’s victories have made “the world stand up and take notice. Because of our success through so many events, especially in the first four days of the Olympics, the world has come to respect – and indeed respect – Australia as a season sports nation. winter. “

Closer to home, however, perception is a bit more limited. Geoff Lipshut, the top official for Australia’s Olympic teams in China, says winter sports are not something Australians “do a lot”. Sure, the Olympic events raised their interest, but their time in the public consciousness was short-lived after the Games ended. In addition to Steven Bradbury, who won a gold medal in speed skating 20 years ago for all the opponents in front of him fellIt is difficult for most Australians to easily name a pivotal moment in Winter sports history.

My attempts to contact someone who had actively watched the Olympics were unsuccessful – several people skimmed headlines or glanced at highlights, but no one watched more events. they did in the Summer Olympics last year.

So what is needed to elevate snow sports in Australia? If putting more Australian winter athletes on television is the answer, there’s not much time left. Australia will compete in just three more events before the Games are over: the women’s freestyle skiing, the men’s 50km freestyle and the women’s 30km freestyle.

If the answer lies in more and more Australians learning to ski, then it’s best to act quickly, at least if they want to start this year. Kennedy says the general managers of ski resorts in Australia are reporting a spike in interest, three and a half months before the country’s winter begins, although it is difficult to tell if that is related. more about easing pandemic travel restrictions or the Olympics.

In the end, watching the Olympics this year was a strange experience for me. Most of the time, I don’t know what’s going on; My basic knowledge of snow sports, largely based on movies like “Cool Runnings” and the disastrous 2012 ski holiday, probably didn’t help. But seeing the diversity of Australian talent changing, selling and becoming a tycoon is fascinating. Why are these athletes, and the events they compete in, so easily forgotten in Australia? Why the country’s heritage above all snow sports is pinned to Steven Bradbury, Whose success? was considered a stroke of luck, a bit of luck?

If you have ideas on how to help snow sports gain more recognition in Australia, please write to us at nytaustralia@nytimes.com.

Now the stories of the week:


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/world/australia/australia-winter-olympics-medals.html Australia’s Success at the Winter Olympics Yes (and No) Tells You What

Fry Electronics Team

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