Defence Minister Peter Dutton has assumed responsibility for Australia’s participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
Mr Dutton called a news conference in the Snowy Mountains this morning to outline his new role and to reveal the uniforms Australian team members will wear at the Winter Olympics in February next year.
“I am very pleased and humbled to have seized the task of overseeing Australia’s involvement in the Beijing Winter Games,” Mr Dutton told reporters.
“I can announce that Australia will be sending an expanded contingent to Beijing but I have also instructed the Australian Olympic Committee to cut back the number of athletes in some sports and beef up numbers in others.
“That will mean Australia won’t be fielding any teams in traditional Winter Olympic sports such as alpine, cross-country, and freestyle skiing; speed and figure skating; ice hockey; luge; bobsleigh; or snowboarding.
“In fact the only Australian athletes going to the Beijing Winter Games will be part of our biathlon team which will be boosted to battalion strength from its current handful of athletes.
“I will also be examining the possibility of national conscription if we believe we need more athletes on the ground once our Olympians land in Beijing.”
Mr Dutton said he had decided that Australia’s Winter Olympians would not wear traditional green and gold uniforms but would be clad in “a nice shade of white with a tasteful, understated designer camouflage motif”.
The Defence Minister met biathlon team members sporting the new uniforms (main picture) and also announced that one of them had already been selected as Australia’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games. (pictured)
However, he said the identity of the flagbearer could not be released as he was still on active service with the SAS.