The Olympic Council of Ireland has selected four young downhill skiers to represent Ireland at the European Winter Youth Olympics in Brasov, Romania, which commences on Sunday next (Feb 17).
All four are members of Snowsports Association Ireland and a couple will be hoping for good performances and a chance to increase their Team Ireland selection prospects for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in a year’s time.
Florence Bell (age 16) based in Great Britain has been training with the FIS development team in Italy since November and represented Ireland at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games two years ago in Innsbruck. She started competitive ski racing at 12.
Kristen Sweeney (age 17) hails from Westport, Connecticut and has strong Irish family links in Co. Tyrone. She first put on skis at the age of two and has trained at the renowned Green Mountain Valley Ski Academy in Vermont. Kristen makes her Team Ireland debut following impressive performances at FIS events in the USA.
Cormac Comerford (age 16) is a Dubliner and a student at Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock. He is one of the most promising juniors in Ireland and a member of the Ski Club of Ireland based at Kilternan. He competed at the World Schools Ski championships in Italy last year.
Luke Riddell (age 16) from London has family connections in Co. Down and is one of the top ten juniors on the UK ski racing scene. He trains at the Ambition Ski Academy in Italy
Over 1,300 competitors will attend the Winter Youth Olympic Games, which are the major junior ski championships on the European scene this year.
Team Ireland: Florence Bell (Slalom & Grand Slalom); Kristen Sweeney (Slalom & Grand Slalom); Cormac Comerford (Slalom & Grand Slalom), Luke Riddell (Slalom & Grand Slalom), Alan Hamilton (Chef de Mission – Snowsports Association Ireland), Diego Schmalzl (Coach), Nessa Smyth (Physiotherapist).