Irish Speed Skater Liam O'Brien Keeps Olympic Dream Alive With Best World Cup Showing

Irish skater Liam O'Brien marked his 23rd birthday by competing at the third ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Debrecen, Hungary over this weekend and posted his best result of the series so far to edge him closer to possible qualification for the 2022 Beijing Olympics next February.

On Day One of racing, O'Brien opened with the 15oom where he was drawn in Heat 14. He finished third in a time of 2:24.899 to advance to the quarterfinals later in the day. He raced in Heat 7 and came fourth with a time of 2:18.941 to move forward to the ranking finals.

O'Brien rounded out his first day of competition in Heat 14 of the 500m preliminaries where he ended up 5th in 43.614. He was classified as 71st overall at this World Cup.

For Day Two, O'Brien had just the 1000m preliminaries to contend with and he raced in Heat 9 where he skated to fourth place in a time of 1:30.732. He finished in 62nd place overall for the distance in Debrecen.

O'Brien's final race was the 1500m ranking finals on Day Three for which he was assigned to Heat 3. He came home 5th in a time of 2:31.317 to garner 38 World Cup points for his 26th placement in the distance. 

After the first three World Cups, the current World Cup classification for O'Brien in each distance is as follows:

500m (60th), 1000m (69th), 1500m (42nd)

O'Brien's exploits in Hungary put him in with a real shot of nabbing one of the 36 quota places available for the 1500m distance at the Beijing Olympics with just the final qualifying World Cup to be held next weekend (24-28 November) in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

"I am slowly building on the performances from the first two World Cups," O'Brien said. "I am happy with my skate in the 1500m and hopefully next week I can repeat similar results."

Photo Credit: International Skating Union (ISU)

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