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Australia names largest ever Winter Olympics squad

ABC News logo ABC News 23/01/2014
Pullin © Christophe Pallot/Getty Images Pullin

Gold medallists Lydia Lassila, Torah Bright and Dale Begg-Smith headline Australia's largest ever squad for next month's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

And two-time world 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman has also been named amongst the squad of 56, having been selected in the two-woman bobsleigh event.

Pittman, who finished fifth in the 400m hurdles final at the Athens Olympics in 2004, becomes the first Australian female athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games.

Lassila (aerials) and Bright (snowboard) will be defending the Olympic crowns they won four years ago in Vancouver, while Begg-Smith (moguls) is looking to add to his medal tally, having already collected a gold (Turin, 2006) and a silver (Vancouver).

Australia will be represented in 10 of the 15 sports on show in Sochi and the size of the squad will increase closer to the commencement of the Games on February 7.

Two-time world snowboard cross champion Alex Pullin is among those named and he admits to feeling excited about competing at his second Olympics.

"The Olympics are that truly unique event that you get to feel the whole country behind you," he told

"It's really special and we don't usually get that in our sport.

"Snowboarding is an individual sport but at the Olympics we each get to be a part of something so huge. You get to be part of the team.

"There is a lot of energy to feed off in that team and good results inspire everyone else to have good results and I know that will happen in Sochi.

"The Aussie spirit is so great and you can feed off that."

Seventy per cent of Australia's squad will be making their Olympic debut in Sochi.

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