AUSTRALIA’s Winter Olympics hopes will include two Hunter athletes.
Newcastle aerial skiier Samantha Wells and figure skater Kailani Craine have made the 50-strong Australian team bound for PyeongChang in February.
The pair are part of what the Australian Olympic Committee believes is its best ever Winter Games team despite gold and silver medallist Torah Bright's omission.
Bright, 31, is one of the country's most successful Olympians but has been left out of the 45-strong team to compete in PyeongChang from February 9 after starting her qualification campaign too late.
"Cheering from the sidelines. Sadly after sustaining a few injuries I will not be able to compete at the upcoming Olympics," Bright said on Twitter on Thursday.
"Life is full of little setbacks but I'm excited about what lies ahead. Continuing to push the boundaries with snowboarding and inspiring projects."
Australia's bid to win a medal at a sixth straight Winter Games will be led by world champions Britt Cox (moguls) and Scotty James (snowboard halfpipe), alongside world No.1 in snowboard cross Alex Pullin and Sochi aerials medallists Lydia Lassila and David Morris.
Cox and James have continued their strong form from last season into 2017-18, with a gold and silver medal respectively in recent World Cup events.
"With respect to the two previous teams that I have been selected on, I think that this team promises so much not only in PyeongChang, but into the future," James said.
"We have many athletes doing really amazing things, who are competitive on the world stage almost every week of the season and the standard of their preparation just gets better."
Lassila, one of the 17 team members to have reached the podium during this winter season with gold and silver at a World Cup event last weekend, has been confirmed for her fifth games.
Snowboarders Belle Brockhoff (cross) and Jessica Rich (slopestyle) and freeskier Russ Henshaw have been selected but their participation is subject to medical clearance.
A champion of the halfpipe at Vancouver 2010, Bright was omitted after her last- ditch bid for selection failed with 15th and eighth placings in recent World Cup events as she struggled with a wrist problem.
She had rarely competed since winning silver in Sochi four years ago.
Emily Arthur and Holly Crawford, who's set to compete at her fourth Games, have claimed the two spots in the women's halfpipe allocated to Australia ahead of Bright.
Sochi Olympian Brockhoff has not given up her bid to compete having recently returned to the slopes after surgery for a ruptured ACL.
The 25-year-old suffered the injury in a training crash late last year after spending much of the previous 12 months out with a knee injury.
"The team is a great cross-section of sports on the winter program which is important to the Australian Olympic Committee," chef de mission Ian Chesterman said on Thursday, 15 days out from the Games.
"Having taken a really young team to Sochi, there are a number of returning Olympians who will benefit from that experience while there are also a number of Olympic debutants that are the future of their sports.
"This is the best performed team that we've taken to an Olympic Games with a large number of athletes who have established that they are amongst the very best in their sports globally."
Greta Small - alpine skiing (super-G, super combined, downhill, giant slalom, slalom)
Dominic Demschar - alpine skiing (giant slalom, slalom)
Lachlan James Reidy - bobsleigh (4-man)
Hayden Thomas Smith - bobsleigh (4-man)
David Mari - bobsleigh (4-man, 2-man)
Lucas Mata - bobsleigh (4-man, 2-man)
Barbara Jezersek - cross-country skiing (15km skiathlon, 10km freestyle, team sprint, 30km classic)
Callum Watson - cross-country skiing (15km skiathlon, classic sprint, 10km freestyle, team sprint, 30km classic)
Phillip Bellingham - cross-country skiing (classic sprint, 15km freestyle, team sprint, 30km classic)
Jessica Yeaton - cross-country skiing (30km skiathlon, classic sprint, 15km freestyle, team sprint)
Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya - figure skating (pair)
Harley Windsor - figure skating (pair)
Kailani Craine - figure skating (women's)
Brendan James Kerry - figure skating (men's)
Laura Peel - freestyle skiing (aerials)
Danielle Scott - freestyle skiing (aerials)
Samantha Wells - freestyle skiing (aerials)
Lydia Lassila - freestyle skiing (aerials)
David Morris - freestyle skiing (aerials)
Matt Graham - freestyle skiing (mogul)
Madii Himbury - freestyle skiing (mogul)
Jakara Anthony - freestyle skiing (mogul)
Britt Cox - freestyle skiing (mogul)
Claudia Gueli - freestyle skiing (mogul)
Brodie Summers - freestyle skiing (mogul)
Sami Kennedy-Sim - freestyle skiing (ski cross)
Russell Henshaw - freestyle skiing (slopestyle)
Alexander Ferlazzo - luge
Deanna Lockett - short track skating (1000m, 1500m)
Andy Jung - short track skating (500m, 1500m)
John Farrow - skeleton (men's)
Jaclyn Narracott - skeleton (women's)
Emily Arthur - snowboard (halfpipe)
Holly Crawford - snowboard (halfpipe)
Nate Johnstone - snowboard (halfpipe)
Scott James - snowboard (halfpipe)
Kent Callister - snowboard (halfpipe)
Jessica Rich - snowboard (slopestyle/big air)
Tess Coady - snowboard (slopestyle/big air)
Jarryd Hughes - snowboard (cross)
Adam Lambert - snowboard (cross)
Alex Pullin - snowboard (cross)
Cameron Bolton - snowboard (cross)
Belle Brockhoff - snowboard (cross)
Daniel Greig - speed skating (500m, 1000m)
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