Elsa Desmond (25), Ireland’s first female Olympian in luge. Desmond qualified for the Beijing 2022 Olympics, finishing 33rd. She was also Ireland’s flagbearer at the Games. Desmond is back competing and looking forward to building already on she has achieved in 2022.
When did pre-season training start back for you?
I started my pre-season in the middle of October, this is after the season ends where I usually take 8 months off the ice. In this time I work as a doctor, this is how I can pay to travel and compete in winter as unfortunately Luge Ireland currently has no sponsors. Once the season ends I normally have 2-3 weeks of complete rest, before I start back in the gym preparing for the next season. When I am away in winter I do not get to see my friends or family for months, so I try to spend as much time with them as I can in summer. I will also usually do one or 2 summer training camps on wheeled sleds of summer ice training facilities.
How long is your 22/23 season?
Our racing season will run until the end of February, however I will be missing the last 2 world cup races of the season to return to work in the hospital in the middle of February.
How much of the year do you travel for your sport?
I normally leave home in early to mid October and return in mid to late February. Sometimes I will be able to go home for one week for Christmas but some years I will be overseas for the whole 4-5 months.
Was there a particular weakness you wanted to focus on in training to make better for this season?
This season has brought a lot of new things for me. I am on a new sled, working with a new team and a new coach, so for me this season the main aim was to get used to these changes and have clean confident runs. It can take a long time in my sport to start seeing results after big changes like this so for me the quality and consistency of my runs this season is more important than the times.
How have your first races of the 22/23 season gone?
My first race of the season was in Innsbruck Austria. I got a personal best. Unfortunately as it is the post Olympic season there is a very small field this season predominantly made up of the big nations within the sport, and so despite my good time I was only able to rank 29th in the Nations cup. Unfortunately I had to withdraw from the Whistler race due to injury, however I am now recovered and beck on a sled, preparing for the race in Park City, USA.
Is there a main race that you’re focusing on for 22/23?
The World Championships will be held in Oberhof, Germany 27-29th January, This is the biggest luge competition of this season.
Will you take a Christmas break or is there races planned?
I will be taking a Christmas break this year after we race in Park City. I have not been able to go home during the season for the last 3 winters, so I am very excited to spend Christmas with my family. I will then be back on the ice in Sigulda, Latvia, ready to race in the first week of January.