On the final day of Alpine Skiing at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, both Eábha McKenna and Finlay Wilson were in action for Team Ireland, competing in the Slalom event. Producing his third personal best of the week, Wilson finished his competition 27th with a time of 1:49.87. McKenna finished just outside the top thirty, in 33rd place, with a time of 1:53.21.
Slalom is the most technical of the Alpine Skiing events, run on a course with poles closer together than the Giant Slalom or Super-G events, and not as fast. The athletes compete over two runs, with the result based on the combined times of both runs. Both Irish athletes improved their performance and position in the second run, competing on a course they described as fun.
Speaking after her race, seventeen-year-old McKenna described the race,
“The time in the second run was better than the first run. It was a super fun slope, so I enjoyed it. You had the middle section and then it was flat, so all the way down you could really push. The way they set the course was just fun. This morning I think I was still pretty nervous because I had a DNF in the last slalom I did this week. I really wanted to finish it, but in the afternoon, I was able to push it a little more.”
In the Men’s Slalom, Chamonix-based Wilson performed strongly in both runs, finishing ultimately in 27th place, adding a third personal best to his Olympic movement debut. Speaking after his second run, the sixteen-year-old said,
“Overall, I’m really happy with my performance, and I think that the team did really well this week. In the first run today it felt great, I had good sensations. In the second one, it was really tight, and the course was wide and turny, so I struggled a little bit more. As a course, it is a very equal one, and the competition is fair. The conditions are great, with no holes or bumps.”
Both Wilson and McKenna will be flying from Gangwon this week to compete in the 2024 World Junior Alpine Ski Championships in the Portes du Soleil 5 Chablais resorts, which starts on Friday.
Meanwhile, at the Youth Olympics, the final Team Ireland athlete to compete is Thomas Dooley, who will be competing in the Dual Moguls on Saturday 27 January. The Winter Youth Olympic Games began on the 19 January and run until the 1 February.
Results 23 January
00:30 (09:30 local time) Eábha McKenna – Slalom Run 1
01:45 (10:45 local time) Finlay Wilson – Slalom Run 1
04:45 (13:45 local time) Eábha McKenna – Slalom Run 2
05:45 (14:45 local time) Finlay Wilson –Slalom Run 2
Eábha McKenna – Women’s Slalom, 33rd place with 1:53.21
Finlay Wilson – Men’s Slalom, 27th place with 1:49.87
Schedule 27 January (Irish time)
04:30 (13:30 local time) Thomas Dooley –Dual Moguls