Tomorrow Emma Austin makes her Games debut, competing in the Giant Slalom on day three of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, with the first run starting at 09:00 Irish time. The Giant Slalom is an Alpine Skiing Race, where the athlete negotiates a series of poles and gates that are on the course with the distance between the poles slightly wider than in slalom, making it a little faster than Slalom.
In tomorrow’s race, the final positions will be decided based on the combined score. Each run is a race against the clock and based on today’s race the icy conditions will make it even trickier.
Austin has settled well into the village, and while it is her first multi-games, she has already competed at the World Junior Championships as well as for Ireland in Lacrosse.
We caught up with her ahead of the competition from the Vortex, the name for the Olympic Village, which is an impressive ring shaped building that will serve as accommodation for students once the Games are finished.
“It’s all been very exciting and it’s really cool to see what Lausanne are doing with sustainability, we are all staying in the Vortex right now. Les Diablerets is an amazing spot.
“I learned how to ski in Wyoming, which is where I lived until I was about four. Then I moved to the east coast, I currently live in Norwich, Vermont which is on the border of New Hampshire, and I learnt how to race at several different resorts around Vermont, and I really got into racing in Greenmountain Valley School.
“I am now a senior, and in the winter I start out skiing until about 12, with the rest of my team, and then I’ll go to class from one until about six. After six I eat dinner and then I’ll tune my skis.”
Austin claimed Irish citizen via her father’s side, her grandfather Albert Austin was born in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, who moved to the US when he was young. He was born into a family of eleven children, and the upped sticks and sailed to Boston where they settled down. The Austins still visit his original house when they come to Ireland.
Listen to the full interview here.