Abbott expects NZ to outperform Australia at Olympics

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has conceded that our Trans-Tasman neighbours are likely to outperform us at the Sochi Winter Olympics which began overnight.

In a press conference with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Friday, Mr Abbott said it would not stop Australians from having "high hopes".

"New Zealand would typically do better at the Winter Olympics than Australia, but we have high hopes in a number of those contests," Mr Abbott said.

"I wish Australian athletes well, and may I also wish New Zealand athletes well."

Australia has 60 athletes in Russia for the games, the largest national Winter Olympic team every dispatched.

Snowboarding world champion Alex "Chumpy" Pullin was named the national flagbearer for the opening ceremony.