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Nov 9, 2:00 AM EST

Windsor to be 1st indigenous Australian Winter Olympian

AP Photo
AP Photo/Julian Linden

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Australia's Relationship with its Aborigines
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SYDNEY (AP) -- Figure skater Harley Windsor is set to be the first indigenous Australian to compete in the Winter Olympics after being selected for next year's Pyeongchang Games.

Windsor and Russian-born Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, the junior world pairs champions, secured an Olympic spot with a bronze medal in a qualifying competition in Germany in late September and were among the first athletes confirmed in then Australian team on Thursday.

Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine were selected to compete in the individual figure skating events in Pyeongchang next February.

The 21-year-old Windsor, from western Sydney, said his selection "feels like an amazing and mind-blowing accomplishment."

"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," he said.

There have been 51 indigenous Australian Summer Olympians, including Cathy Freeman, who ignited the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Games in 2000 and won gold the following week in the 400 meters.

"I was a massive supporter of Cathy Freeman and how hard she worked to achieve what she achieved," Windsor said. "She was 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."

Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll said the day was historic for 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."

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