Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano celebrates after winning the final World Cup men's halfpipe event of the season on Jan. 15, 2022, in Laax, Switzerland. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Combined photo shows Yuzuru Hanyu (L) and Miho Takagi. (Photo courtesy of JOC)(Kyodo)

Snowboarder Ayumu Hirano, a candidate for the men's halfpipe gold at the Beijing Olympics, was named to Japan's team Wednesday, effectively bringing all of the nation's biggest medal prospects on board for the Feb. 4 to Feb. 20 event.

Hirano joins a national team featuring two-time defending men's figure skate champion Yuzuru Hanyu, speed skater Miho Takagi, a gold-medal candidate in multiple events, and men's ski jumping World Cup leader Ryoyu Kobayashi.

The Ski Association of Japan named Hirano and 45 others to fill out its 55-member squad. Among them were men's Nordic combined ace Akito Watabe and Ikuma Horishima, a three-time winner this season on the men's mogul World Cup circuit.

The association sent a 39-member squad to the 2014 Sochi Olympics and dispatched 47 four years ago to Pyeongchang.

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