The first members of the New Zealand Olympic team to compete in Vancouver next month have been named.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) today named 10 athletes across five sports, with the snowboard team yet to be announced.
Among those named were first-time Olympians Michelle Greig in freeski, Tim Cafe in alpine ski and Ben Koons in cross-country ski.
The young athletes join the team alongside more experienced Olympian Ben Sandford, who finished 10th in skeleton at Torino in 2006.
Pending confirmation of a quota spot from the international federation, the committee also selected Sarah Murphy, who is hoping to become New Zealand's first Olympic representative in biathlon, a sport combining rifle shooting with cross-country skiing.
Vancouver chef de mission Peter Wardell said he was delighted to have the first members of the squad named.
"With just 22 days until the Opening Ceremony, it certainly has been a nerve wracking wait for the athletes. They have maintained intense training and competition schedules and now can focus on what lies ahead," Wardell said.
"We've raised the bar and I know they'll step up and make us proud. We're looking forward to additional announcements next week."
NZOC selector and secretary general Barry Maister also welcomed the athletes to the team and said he felt the increased support for the Winter Performance Programme (WPP) would put New Zealand in good stead.
The athletes are currently based in the Northern Hemisphere and will travel to one of two Olympic Villages situated in Whistler and Vancouver ahead of the opening ceremony on February 12.
New Zealand first took part in a Winter Olympic Games in 1952 in Oslo with a team of five athletes. Since then, 72 New Zealanders have competed at the Games, with Annelise Coberger, who took silver in the slalom in 1992 at Albertville, the only medallist.
Cross Country Skiing: Ben Koons, Katie Calder.
Skeleton: Tionette Stoddard, Iain Roberts, Ben Sandford.
Skating: Blake Skjellerup, Shane Dobbin.
Freeski: Michelle Greig.
Alpine Ski: Tim Cafe, Ben Griffin.
Confirmed pending international quota: Sarah Murphy.