New Zealand will be represented by 20 athletes at Lausanne 2020 ©NZOC

A team of 20 athletes will represent New Zealand at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, which begin on Thursday (January 9).

The squad will compete across nine disciplines at the third edition of the youth event, billed as a key development opportunity for upcoming athletes.

Olympian Jesse Teat, who competed in alpine skiing at Salt Lake City 2002, has been chosen as Chef de Mission.

Teat previously led the New Zealand team at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

"Lausanne 2020 will give these young athletes the opportunity to grow their skills and test themselves against some of the best young sportspeople from around the world," Teat said.

"The Games are also about developing the athletes as people, so we'll be taking advantage of learning opportunities which will benefit our team as their careers progress.

"Most of the athletes will also compete in mixed nation events, allowing them to compete alongside athletes from all over the world and make some new friends.”

The New Zealand team includes ice hockey player Jack Lewis, who will be their youngest representative at age 14.

He will be joined by Katya Blong, Tallulah Bryant, Caleb Chapman and Axel Ruski-Jones, who will also compete in ice hockey during the Games.

Finn Bilous won two medals at Lillehammer 2016, before competing at the Winter Olympics two years later ©Getty Images
Finn Bilous won two medals at Lillehammer 2016, before competing at the Winter Olympics two years later ©Getty Images

Katie Crawford and Harrison Messenger will compete in alpine skiing, while Campbell Wright will be the sole representative in biathlon and cross-country skiing.

William Becker, Zoe Harman, Lucy Neilson and Hunter Walker have been selected for the curling team, while Ruby Andrews, Ben Barclay, Luca Harrington and Max McDonald are the country's freestyle skiing hopefuls.

Both Hunter Burke and Ella Cox will travel to St Moritz to compete in the Games' luge competitions.

The squad is completed by short track speed skater Ethan De Rose and snowboarder Mitchell Davern.

New Zealand won two medals at Lillehammer 2016, with freestyle skier Finn Bilous taking halfpipe silver and slopestyle bronze.

Bilous competed at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang two years later, where he narrowly missed out on a place in the final.

Beau James Wells, Jackson Wells, Rakai Tait, Tiarn Collins and Piera Hudson are among former Youth Olympic Games participants for New Zealand to have graduated to the Winter Olympics or earned international success.

Around 2,000 athletes from 73 countries are expected to compete at Lausanne 2020, aged between 14 and 18.