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Record Aussie team set for action

JANA Pittman readily admits she thought her Olympic dream was over after finishing fifth in the 400m hurdles at the Athens Games in 2004.

Yesterday she was given a second chance, named among a record team of 56 Australian athletes to compete in 10 of the 15 sports at next month's Winter Olympics in of Sochi.

Pittman (pictured in action) tried boxing and rowing before putting all of her efforts into the two-man bobsleigh, and will be the first Australian female to take part in a summer and winter Games.

"To be able to come and do something that is really fun and that is very different and something I think we are going to be very good at is something that has drawn me here," she said.

The 31-year-old will be the brakewoman for two-time Olympian and former track partner Astrid Radjenovic.

In an incredible co-incidence, the pair trained together under coach Jackie Byrnes 15 years ago.

They will be part of the biggest team Australia has sent to a Winter Olympics - 16 more than competed in Vancouver four years ago, with the possibility a few more could be added.

The sports to be contested are: alpine skiing, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, luge, short track, skeleton, snowboard and speed skating. Freestyle skiing will have the biggest representation with 21 athletes, followed by snowboarding with 11.

All three athletes who won medals in Vancouver have been chosen: Torah Bright - gold, snowboard (halfpipe), Lydia Lassila - gold, freestyle skiing (aerials) and Dale Begg-Smith - silver, freestyle skiing (moguls).

The Sochi Games start on February 7.


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