The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named the snowboard team to represent New Zealand at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games next month. The three female and two male athletes selected make up the largest-ever contingent of New Zealand snowboarders to compete at an Olympic Games.
The team was named today after a quota spot confirming a third female athlete became available.
Among the snowboarders selected was 18 year old Rebecca Sinclair who is headed for her first Olympic Games and will be the youngest member of the New Zealand team. The Wanaka-based teenager who first competed for New Zealand in 2006 as a 14 year old sees inclusion in the Olympic team as more than just a competition. “It is an opportunity to be part of an event that brings people together and gives them a chance to prove themselves against the rest of the world,” she said.
Brother-sister duo Mitch and Kendall Brown have both earned a spot in the team and join Juliane Bray as three of New Zealand’s most experienced winter athletes. All three competed in the half-pipe at the Torino Winter Olympic Games in 2006. Bray, who finished a very strong 16th in the half-pipe at Torino is delighted to be confirmed for the team.
“Being selected for the Vancouver Olympic team is just awesome,” she said. “I have being reaching for this dream for four years and compared to Torino it has been much more difficult to qualify because there are so many women snowboarding these days. I am aiming to make the finals in the Half Pipe. Once I’ve made finals I’ll be going for a medal.”
The three female and two snowboarders named today are:
Juliane Bray (34, Wanaka, Torino 2006 16th half-pipe)
Kendall Brown (20, born Dunedin, based Wanaka, Torino 2006 24th half-pipe)
Rebecca Sinclair (18, Wanaka)
James Hamilton (20, Albany)
Mitch Brown (22, born Dunedin, based Wanaka, Torino 2006 25th half-pipe)
New Zealand is now awaiting confirmation of the final quota spot to enable biathlete Sarah Murphy entry to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. This confirmation is expected on Friday 29 January. Until this is confirmed, The New Zealand Olympic Team stands at 15.
New Zealand at the Winter Olympic Games.
New Zealand first took part in a Winter Olympic Games in 1952 in Oslo with a team of five athletes. Since then, New Zealand has had 72 winter Olympians and one winter medallist – Annelise Coberger who took silver in the slalom in 1992 at Albertville. New Zealand’s next best results were two fourths in short-track skating (relay team and individual) at Albertville in 1992, eighth in short-track skating in Lillehammer in 1994 and a 10th in the skeleton at Torino.
Of the 1111 named New Zealand Olympians fewer than 7% have earned this coveted title at winter games. New Zealand’s newest Olympians will be numbered on their return to New Zealand from 1112 upwards.
The Vancouver Olympic Games runs from 12- 28 February 2010.
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