SOCHI 2014: Meet the Border's hopefuls

There are 12 medal events for cross country skiing, four individual events and two team events for each gender.

The main event for Esther Bottomley and Phil Bellingham is the Freestyle Sprint on Tuesday. Aimee and Callum Watson are focused on the Skiathlon (which includes Freestyle and Classic technique and a ski change) and the 10km and 15km Classic.

The Australians will also contest the team sprint, which involves two-person teams racing three times each around the sprinting course. The athletes may also choose additional events. 

Competing in cross country: ESTHER BOTTOMLEY

Events: 10km Classical Women, Sprint Freestyle Women
Residence: Mount Beauty
Age: 30
Nickname: Es
Training base: Falls Creek
Sochi 2014 will be Bottomley’s third Olympic Winter Games, the first female Australian Cross Country athlete to do so. In a perfect lead-up to Sochi, Bottomley recorded her best ever FIS World Cup points at the Davos World Cup in December. She was 63rd with 72.1 FIS points, 7.1 seconds outside the top 30 in the women’s sprint. Bottomley’s uncle Ron Wearmouth played for Collingwood from 1969 to 1981.

What is your goal for Sochi? 
To make every step on that sprint course count and improve on the past two Olympic results. Top 30 would be the dream.

Competition dates
Sprint Freestyle Women: Tue 11, 9pm-9.50pm, 11pm-1am. 10km Classical Women: Thu 13, 9pm-10.40pm

AIMEE WATSON

Events: 15km Skiathlon Women
Residence: Barooga
Age: 26
Nickname: Aims
Training base: Falls Creek
The Cobram and Yarrawonga vet’s dash to Sochi became realistic when she had a strong performance at the FIS races in Finland in November. She was 38th in the 5km Classic and 29th in the 10km Freestyle, scoring FIS points of 106.8 and 88.7 — her best points since 2009. Watson raced every weekend from November 16 to mid-January to attain the FIS point standard required for Sochi. It was a stressful wait but in January it was confirmed she had done enough to qualify. She will compete in a 15-kilometre race which combines 7.5 kilometres of classical cross country skiing and 7.5 kilometres using skating technique.

What is your goal for Sochi? 
Top-40

Competition dates

15km Skiathlon Women: Sat 8, 9am-10.45pm.

PHIL BELLINGHAM

Events: 15km Classical Men, 30km Skiathlon Men, 50km Freestyle Mass Start Men, Sprint Freestyle Men, Team Sprint 
Classic Men
Residence: Mount Beauty
Age: 22
Nickname: Philpot
Training base: Falls Creek
Began skiing almost as soon as he could walk and has been competitive since 2008. Last week Bellingham became the  first Australian to make the  quarter finals of a world sprint event, a fellow competitor  breaking his pole mid race  and denying him any chance  of making the semis. Sochi is his first Olympics

What is your goal for Sochi?
 
Top-40

Competition dates

Sprint Freestyle: Tue 11, 
11pm-12.45am
15km Classical: Fri 14, 9pm-10.55pm
Team Sprint Classic Men: Wed 15, 10.45pm-midnight

CALLUM WATSON

Events: 15km Classical Men, 30km Skiathlon Men, Sprint Freestyle Men, Team Sprint 
Classic Men
Residence: Jindabyne. 
Age: 24
Nickname: Cal
Training base: Falls Creek
Callum Watson and his older sister Aimee are the first siblings to represent Australia in cross country skiing at the same Games. Watson’s cardiovascular fitness has to be seen to be believed. This year he improved his maximum oxygen uptake by 1.3ml/kg/min to set a new AIS record of 89.6ml/kg/min, beating Cadel Evans. Watson spent time training with the Umea University Team in Sweden alongside a group of World Cup athletes.

What is your goal for Sochi?
 
Top-30

Competition dates
30km Skiathlon: Sun 9, 9pm-10.45pm; Sprint Freestyle: Tue 11, 11pm-12.45am; 15km Classical: Fri 14, 9pm-10.55pm; Team Sprint Classic: Wed 15, 10.45pm-12am; 50km Cross Country: Sun 23, 6pm-10.55pm.

GRETA SMALL

Events: Downhill Women, Giant Slalom Women, Slalom Women, Super Combined Women, Super G Women
Born: Wangaratta
Age: 18
Training base: Mount Hotham
The former Porepunkah and Scots School Albury skier was the Australian flagbearer at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012. Small notched two top-10 results (seventh in Slalom and Super G) and 13th in the Giant Slalom and Super Combined and was the second-youngest competitor at her debut World Championships in 2013 in Germany. 

What is your goal for Sochi? 
Top-20 result in any discipline

Competition dates
Super Combined: Mon 10: 6pm-7.30pm, 10pm-11.10pm
Downhill: Wed 12: 6pm-8.10pm
Super G: Sat 15: 6pm-8.10pm
Giant Slalom Women: Tue 18: 6pm-8pm and 9.30pm-11pm
Slalom Women: Fri-Sat 21-22: 11.45pm-1am, 3.15am-4.25am

Competing in moguls: BRITT COX

Events: Moguls Women
Residence: Mount Beauty
Age: 19
Nickname: Britty
Training base: Falls Creek
Cox was the youngest athlete at the Vancouver Games in 2010. At 15, she was Australia’s youngest Winter Olympian since Aileen Nash, 14, at the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley. Cox’s last-minute qualification came as a shock, as her sights were set on Sochi. However her 23rd placing gave her invaluable experience for the future. Two years later at Deer Valley, USA, Cox became Australia’s first female World Cup medallist in Moguls. Cox won her second World Cup bronze at Lake Placid last year and in March placed 10th at the World Championships in Norway. Born and raised in Falls Creek, Cox won her first Moguls competition at the Victorian Interschools as an eight-year-old.

What is your goal for Sochi? 

To ski my absolute best and produce my best possible performance

​Competition dates  (AEST)
Moguls qualifying
Friday, 1am-1.55am
Moguls Final
Sunday, 1am-1.30am, 
5am-6.35am

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