- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SYDNEY (AP) - Australia has named 56 athletes in its largest-ever team for a winter Olympic Games.

Two more competitors will be named from alpine disciplines and one may be added in biathlon, bringing the complement to 59, topping the 40-strong team sent by Australia to the previous two winter Games.

The Olympics being in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 7.

Australia has a target of four to five medals which would eclipse the three-medal haul it achieved at Vancouver four years ago.

Its best chances are thought to be Alex Pullin in snowboard cross, Lydia Lassila in freestyle aerials, Torah Bright in snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle and Russ Henshaw in ski slopestyle though several others have achieved podium placings at World Cup level.

Pullin, a double world champion, has lacked competition this season but says he is fit while ski slopestyle competitor Anna Segal has struggled with a knee injury during the northern hemisphere winter. She has until Feb. 2 to prove her fitness.

Ski cross athlete Scott Kneller, who broke his back in a heavy crash in December, has until February 10 to receive a medical clearance.

Jana Pittman, who won two world championships in the 400m hurdles, will become the first Australian woman to represent her country in a summer and winter Games after being selected in the two-woman bobsleigh.

But Bright, the 2010 halfpipe gold medalist, might fail in her bid to become the first woman to qualify for three snowboard disciplines as she is just outside the qualification zone for snowboard cross.



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