10 Aussie Olympians to watch in Beijing

Wearing his red fighting gloves, James hopes to land back-to-back X Games golds. Matt Morning / ESPN Images

The Winter Olympics are upon us with the Opening Ceremony to set the Games rolling on Friday night.

We've brought together a list of the top 10 Australian athletes you need to keep an eye out for in Beijing.

With a 44-strong cohort, the Australian Olympic Team will make history in 2022 with the highest female representation in Australian Winter Olympic history. Twenty-three women have traveled to Beijing, meanwhile the team's average age is just 25 with the youngest athlete, Valentino Guseli, competing in the snowboard halfpipe at just 16 years pf age.

Australia will have athletes competing in 10 disciplines, including curling for the first time in Australia's history, while they'll have 13 athletes competing in freestyle skiing and 11 in snowboard events.

The Australian team will be determined to better their 2018 PyeongChang efforts which saw three athletes secure medals, including Scotty James who will return to the Olympic stage in Beijing for his fourth appearance at the Games.

Read on for our top 10 athletes to watch in Beijing:

Laura Peel, aerial skier

Leading into the 2022 Winter Olympics, Laura Peel has proved herself as one of Australia's top medal hopes after she produced one of the highest scoring jumps of all time to win gold at the World Cup aerial skiing event just weeks out from the Games. Heading to her third Winter Olympics, Peel is on track to win her first Olympic medal after two years of dominating the World Cup circuit. Performing some of the most incredible triple somersaults, it will be hard to deny the 32-year-old, especially if she manages to pull off a full-full-full triple - which she performed to near perfection on the eve of the Games.

Jarryd Hughes, Belle Brockhoff, snowboard cross mixed pair

Well known for his efforts at the PyeongChang Games in 2018 where he took out the silver in the snowboard cross, Jarryd Hughes is returning to the slopes again and will be joined by 29-year-old Belle Brockhoff in the snowboard cross mixed pair event. In their individual events, both these athletes are well on track to compete for a medal, but with the inclusion of the mixed pair event, they have the potential to make history. The mixed pair event is making its Olympic debut in Beijing, and the Australian duo has a strong chance of claiming the first ever gold after they became world champions in 2021.

Danielle Scott, aerial skier

Heading to her third Olympics, Danielle Scott is a strong medal contender after she finished her preparations with a near perfect 102.93 score and earned her fifth World Cup victory. Hampered by injuries in the 2019-20 season, the 31-year-old came back with a vengeance bringing her triple backflips to the snow for the first time in her career, winning two Europa Cup gold medals in 2020-21 season. Unfortunately, Scott narrowly missed at on a podium finish at the 2021 World Championships. Alongside Peel, Scott has taken her skills to another level and has a strong chance of taking home her first Olympic medal.

Tahli Gill, Dean Hewitt, curling

They may not be in line to medal, but you will not want to miss Australia's first ever Olympic curling team. The first athletes to be selected for the Olympic team, Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt clinched their spot following a nail-biting, undefeated run in the Olympic Qualification in the Netherlands. Proving themselves as a team to watch out for, Gill and Hewitt finished fourth in the 2019 World Championships and won seven straight matches against some of the world's best. Gill and Hewitt have already hit the ice in Beijing, suffering a narrow defeat in their opening encounter.

Jakara Anthony, moguls

Surely there's no better way to prepare for the Olympics than winning back-to-back moguls gold medals in a stellar World Cup season, which included a podium at every event leading into the new year break. Winning two gold, one silver and two bronze, Jakara Anthony has timed her run perfectly heading to Beijing and she stands in good stead to go at least one better than her 2018 efforts where she finished fourth overall.

Bree Walker, bobsleigh, monobob

Originally dreaming of Summer Olympics glory, injuries forced Bree Walker to re-evaluate her goals and so in 2022 the 29-year-old will make her Winter Olympic debut as part of Australia's bobsleigh team and in the inaugural monobob event. Currently ranked sixth in the world in monobob, Walker has taken the world circuit by storm, claiming 12 world series podiums over the last two seasons including six gold medals. Clinching an Olympic medal will take plenty of guts and effort from Walker, but she's proven she's at home amongst the best.

Scotty James, snowboard halfpipe

No list is complete without Scotty James. A bronze medalist from 2018, James is determined to take his X-Games success to the Olympics and finally earn himself a gold medal. With his biggest competition working on some impressive tricks, James will have to pull out his best to down Ayumu Hirano - who recently claimed silver behind James's gold in Colorado - and Winter Olympics veteran Shaun White. The tricks are insane and the 27-year-old will no doubt pull out something to stun yet again.

Matt Graham, mogul

PyeongChang silver medalist Matt Graham is back to compete in Beijing, but his journey has not been without its difficulties. Undergoing collarbone surgery in December, Graham has been racing the clock to get himself fit, returning to training in Brisbane before he eventually flew out to Finland to finish preparations. While his preparations have been less than ideal, the 27-year-old remains one of Australia's best chances to medal.

Jackie Narracott, skeleton

The skeleton event may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for Jackie Narracott it's a heart racing minute that could land her on the Olympic podium. Creating history last week, she became the first Australian to win a skeleton World Cup event, defeating the second placed finisher by just 0.06 seconds, putting her on track for an historic Olympic performance.

Tess Coady, slopestyle snowboarder

After claiming the biggest win of her career, Tess Coady has sky-rocketed into Olympic medal contention. Claiming her second World Cup victory with an impressive gold medal performance in Switzerland, the 21-year-old stunned with some spectacular moves including a frontside double 1080 on her last run. Only young, this will be Coady's second Olympics, but following a disastrous season-ending knee injury on a trial run in PyeongChang, Coady will be determined to make the most of her appearance on the slopes in Beijing.