By Peter Douglas and Kath Gannaway
Don Valley prodigy Casey Wright is set to grace the international stage as she prepares to make her Winter Olympics debut for Australia.
The cross-country skier, 23, is in PyeongChang for the opening ceremony, during which snowboard star Scotty James will be the flag bearer for the Australian team.
Wright is one of five cross-country skiers in the 50-strong Australian team, after she was rewarded with selection for some recent strong results.
Although the Yarra Valley will always be her home, Wright has been based in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is working towards a degree in Health Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Wright is coming off a stellar 2017 season during which she finished third in the 1.4km women’s classic sprint at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.
Her podium finish was the best result for the Australian team at the eight-day meet.
Wright told the ‘Mail’ she had taken great strides in recent times.
“I’m skiing like a totally different athlete than I have in the past seasons, which shows how much progress I have made since moving to Anchorage,” she said.
“I am training with some of the best skiers in the USA.
“Being surrounded by faster skiers, and an incredibly supportive team, has allowed me to push my limits and see what I am fully capable of.”
Wright also recently competed in the US National Championships, where she finished 20th and 27th in two different sprint events.
Before her debut, in an interview for the official site of the Australian Olympic team, Wright said she was relaxed before the event.
“I’m just going into this with an open mind and just hoping to ski as fast as I can and finish the race knowing that I left everything out on the track,” she said.
“There’s not many World Championship events where you get to have these opportunities, especially to have it with other countries as well is very unique.”