Winter Olympics: Eleebana aerial skiier Samantha Wells and Waratah figure skater Kailani Crane named in Australian team for PyeongChang

Newcastle aerial skiier Samantha Wells will contest her second Winter Olympics next month after joining fellow Novocastrian Kailani Crane on the Australian team for PyeongChang. 

Eleebana 28-year-old Wells, who debuted with 18th at Sochi in 2014, was one of 45 athletes announced for the Games on Thursday with Waratah 19-year-old Crane having already confirmed a maiden figure skating spot in October.  

Over one third of the squad have claimed an international medal since the start of 2016-2017 and less than three weeks out from the opening ceremony Australian Olympic Committee’s Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman rates that highly.

“This is the best performed team that we’ve taken to an Olympic Games,” Chersterman said. “With a large number of athletes who have established that they are amongst the very best in their sports globally.” 

Wells was one of five aerial skiiers selected to don the green and gold uniform in Korea, alongside 2010 champion and now five-time Olympian Lydia Lassila

“This team shows that winter sports in Australia are in really good shape, with real depth developing in a number of sports,” Chesterman said.

“We will field maximum team sizes in women’s aerials and moguls and men’s snowboard cross, which is a great position to be in.

“It is pleasing that winter sports are now embraced as mainstream in the Australian sports system and we hope PyeongChang produces the results that the athletes deserve.”

Wells spent four months training in Utah last year followed by a pre-season camp in Finland in November and then competed on the World Cup circuit, including New York’s Lake Placid on Saturday. The Games start on February 9.