Windsor selected to be Australia's first Indigenous Winter Olympian
November 9, 2017
Article from pyeongchang2018.olympics.com.au
Australia has made plenty of Winter Olympic history over the past 20 years and now figure skating sensation Harley Windsor is set to rewrite the history books himself as he becomes Australia’s first ever Indigenous athlete to compete at a Winter Games.
Windsor was today selected onto the Australian Winter Olympic Team for PyeongChang 2018 where he will compete alongside his Pairs partner Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya.
Australia has had 51 Indigenous athletes pull on the green and gold at the Summer Olympic Games and come February Windsor will be the nation’s first Indigenous Winter Olympic athlete.
“It hasn’t completely sunk in yet but it feels like an amazing and mind-blowing accomplishment to have been named as Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian,” the 21-year-old said, who won the Pairs Junior World Championship with partner Alexandrovskaya earlier this year.
“I grew up in the Aboriginal community and have always been around Aboriginal culture so it’s been a huge part of my life and something that I’m very proud of.”
Windsor is hoping his selection will inspire other Indigenous Australians just as he was inspired by fellow Indigenous trailblazers throughout his youth.
“I was a massive supporter of Cathy Freeman and how hard she worked to achieve what she achieved.
“She was such a great athlete and such a great inspiration for me when I was young.
“I hope I can give other young Indigenous athletes some inspiration that they are able to get to the highest level in Winter Olympic sports just like we’ve done in Summer sports.
“I hope I can continue to push forward and give them someone to look up to.”
Just as any family would be, Windsor’s relatives are exceptionally proud of his achievements to date and his history-making selection to compete at PyeongChang 2018.
“My parents know their son is now going to be an Olympian and compete for Australia at the Winter Olympic Games so they are really proud which is great.”
Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman has witnessed the rise of winter sports in Australia, having led the Winter Olympic Team at the past six Games, and knows this is a landmark moment for Indigenous Australians as well as winter sports.
“Having Harley on the Team, as Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian is of huge significance,” Chesterman said.
“It reflects the increasing growth of Winter Sports across all Australian states and territories.”
Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll added; “This is an historical day for Indigenous sport and the Olympic movement in Australia. Just as Harley has stated he wants to, we hope that he provides inspiration to young Indigenous athletes that they can follow in his path and compete at a high level in Winter Sports.”
Windsor, who grew up in Rooty Hill in Sydney’s west, created history earlier in the year by becoming the first Australian ever to become a figure skating Junior World Champion with Alexandrovskaya.
The pair then went on to finish third at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, to secure Australia the quota spot for PyeongChang 2018.
Windsor’s involvement at PyeongChang will come 82 years after Australia first competed at the Winter Olympics at the 1936 Garmisch Games when Ken Kennedy lined up in four speed skating events.
To date Australia has had 51 Indigenous Summer Olympic athletes that have won 12 medals between them.
Alongside Windsor, Alexandrovskaya, Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine were also named to the Australian Winter Team for PyeongChang 2018.