Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Workshop

October 10, 2017

Irish Winter Olympic hopefuls gathered in Dublin for a series of workshops hosted by the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI). The aim of the OCI workshops were to support the athletes on their final quest for qualification and to fully prepare those who are selected, for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Games will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from the 9th-25th February.

At the workshop, that was held jointly by the OCI and the Sport Ireland Institute, athletes were guided on all aspects of preparation for competing at the Winter Olympic Games.  This included preparing for the Olympic experience, Korean culture and medical support at the Games. The programme was led by Chef de Mission Stephen Martin, Sports Director Martin Burke, Institute of Sport’s Phil Moore and Eoin Rheinisch and by Shane O’Connor OCI Athlete Commission.


The OCI is supporting five of Ireland’s eligible Winter Olympic hopefuls through the Olympic scholarship programme. These five athletes are Tess Arbez, Patrick McMillan, Kieran Norris (all Alpine Ski), Kieran O’Connor (Snowboarder) and Brendan Doyle (Skeleton).


Each of these athletes received grants of €17K plus €4.7K for additional funding to cover their costs transport costs to Olympic qualifications competitions. In addition, the OCI has supported access for all Winter Olympic hopefuls to the services provided by Sport Ireland Institute.


President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, Sarah Keane said: “It’s brilliant to see so many Irish athletes in contention to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The commitment and dedication shown by these athletes to represent Ireland is just phenomenal. We wish all the athletes the best of luck in their qualification and we’ll be supporting all the way.” 


Confirmation of final qualification for the 2018 Winter Olympics is pending publication of the Olympic qualifying list by the International Ski Federation on Wednesday, 24th January where this list is based on athlete world ranking for each snow sports discipline.


Currently Tess Arbez and Pat McMillan (Alpine Ski), Thomas Westgard in the Cross Country and John Brown in the Free Ski Slopestyle have met the A standard qualification criteria and provisionally maintain the necessary World Ranking for qualification to the games.


Brendan Newby (Free ski Half-pipe) has also met the A standard qualification criteria but sits just outside the World Ranking required for provisional qualification while Seamus O’Connor (Snowboard Half-pipe) currently maintains a World Ranking that would provisionally gain him qualification but must first compete and secure one additional competition result (as part of the minimum qualification criteria).


Ireland also have an additional three athletes all in Alpine Ski who have B standards (a maximum of 140 FIS points on the FIS Points list) Cormac Comerford, Kieran Norris and Emma Ryan. These athletes can qualify if the OCI do not have any athlete meeting the A standard only in the slalom and/or giant slalom events.


Following yesterday’s workshop Ireland’s Winter Olympic hopefuls will be continuing their quest to become 2018 Irish Winter Olympians over the coming months. Qualification for the 2018 Winter Olympics is pending final rankings on Wednesday, 24th January 2018.






For further details and to confirm attendance, please contact:

Wilson Hartnell

Declan Lee, Shane Nolan, Sophie Eustace / /

01 669 0030 / 087 695 7451/ 086 0835402 / 085 717 6183


Notes to Editor:

“A” Standard Criteria

Tess Arbez – 19 years old

  • Alpine Ski – Slalom, Giant Slalom
  • Born in France, she represented Ireland at the 2017 Alpine World Championships
  • She finished 29th in the World in the Junior Championships in Sochi, 2016
  • She’s hoping to begin a Bachelor of Law Degree in the Autumn


Patrick McMillan – 25 years old

  • Alpine Ski – Giant Slalom, Super-G & Downhill
  • Born in Letterkenny, Donegal and currently living and training in Austria
  • Represented Ireland at the 2015 Alpine World Championships in Colorado and 2017 Alpine World Championships in St Moritz, Switzerland


Thomas Westgard – 21 years old

  • Cross – Country Skiing
  • Born in Norway, he has represented Ireland at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships in Lahti


John Brown – 22 years old

  • Freeski Slopstyle
  • Born in the USA, John spent time in Cork before is family settled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
  • Winner of the Red Bull sponsored Big Air event “Excellent Soldiers” in Czech Republic


Brendan Newby – 21 years old

  • Freeskii – Half Pipe
  • Born in Ireland, but currently lives and trains in Utah, USA
  • Won USASA Nationals Overall category two years in a row and finished in 25th place at the 2017 FIS World Championship


Seamus O’Connor – 20 years old

  • Snowboarding – Half Pipe
  • Born in America, he competed for Ireland at the 2014 Winter Olympics
  • Finished in 10th place at the 2015 Slopestyle World Championships in Kreischberg, Austria



“B” Standard Criteria

Cormac Comerford – 21 years old

  • Alpine Ski – Slalom and Giant Slalom
  • Irish born, Cormac is a sports scholarship student at DIT
  • He has represented Ireland at a European Youth Olympics, two Junior World Championships, and has been selected for two World Championships
  • In February he achieved a top 50 position in the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship in St. Moritz, Switzerland



Kieran Norris – 22 years old

  • Alpine Ski – Slalom and Giant Slalom
  • Born in England, he changed nationality and skied for Ireland in the 2014/15 season
  • Kieran made his World Cup debut for Ireland in 2016 in Kitzbuhel, Austria



Emma Ryan -17 years old

  • Alpine Ski – Slalom and Giant Slalom
  • Born in America, Emma is the top YOB 2000 Ladies Alpine Racer in Ireland after 1 year of FIS


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