The Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (WYOG) Opening Ceremony is scheduled tonight and Australia’s Ski Cross athlete Duncan Cowan and Ice Hockey team captain Tara Baker will lead the Australian Team as Flag Bearers.

The Opening Ceremony is the start of a 14-day competition, where 1900 athletes from over 70 nations will compete across 15 winter disciplines.

Fifteen-year-old Tara and 17-year-old Duncan’s appointment as the first Australian dual Flag Bearers at a Youth Olympic Games not only marks a significant milestone, but also symbolises the depth of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, encompassing both ice and snow sports, individual and team sports.

Tara said her position as captain of the Australian Ice Hockey Team, the first time Australia has qualified an Ice Hockey team for a WYOG, has prepared her for this opportunity.

“It is such an honour and privilege to lead the Australian Team into the Opening Ceremony tonight,”” Tara said. “I believe I am a good role model for my team, I love bringing people together and it is something that is really important to me.”

“It also means a lot to be able to represent my sport and Ice Hockey Australia, I think it is going to mean a lot to them and I hope I can make them proud.”

Duncan said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the team at tonight’s Opening Ceremony.

“I was so excited when Ramone told me I had been selected as the Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer,” Duncan said.

“Just to represent my country at a Youth Olympic Games was already such an incredible opportunity, to then find out I was going to be the Flag Bearer just makes the experience that much more amazing.”

Australia’s largest ever Winter Youth Olympic Games (WYOG) Team will compete in Gangwon, South Korea from 19 January to 1 February 2024.

The 47-strong Team will compete across eight disciplines: Biathlon, Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, Ice Hockey, Snowboard, Cross-Country Skiing, Alpine and Freestyle Skiing.

The Australian Team is made up on 31 females and 16 males, aged between 14 and 18, with an average age of 15.8.

Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games Australian Team

Australia has won 7 medals over the Innsbruck 2012, Lillehammer 2016 and Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games: 1 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze.

10 Australian Youth Olympic Team members have gone on to represent Australia at the Winter Olympic Games: Emily Arthur (Snowboard), Alex Ferlazzo (Luge), Greta Small (Alpine Skiing), Lucy Glanville (Biathlon), Harry Laidlaw (Alpine Skiing), Josie Baff (Snowboard), Hugo Hinckfuss (Cross-Country Skiing), Abi Harrigan (Freestyle Skiing), Louis Muhlen-Schulte (Alpine Skiing) and Katie Parker (Alpine Skiing)

Our Australian Team will have the benefit of being mentored by Vancouver 2010 Moguls Olympian Ramone Cooper as the Chef de Mission. Four-time Moguls Olympian Britt Cox will be with the team in a mentor role through the Athlete365 Career+ program and will also assist with team operations during the Games.

Winter Olympians Sami Kennedy-Sim and Jackie Narracott will be in Gangwon as ‘Athlete Role Models’, selected by the International Federations of winter sports on the Gangwon 2024 YOG program to mentor and support young athletes during the Games.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.