TEAM IRELAND AT WINTER YOUTH OLYMPICS – GANGWON 2024
Team Announcement, Event Schedule, How to Follow
Tomorrow will see the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon begin, with four athletes competing for Team Ireland across three different disciplines. This is the fourth edition of these games, which are held in the Gangwon region of South Korea and occur from the 19 January until the 1 February. Run under the International Olympic Committee, Gangwon 2024 will be see a record number of athletes compete, with 1,900 athletes from 79 countries across the world taking part.
Signifying the growth and diversification in sports of Irish winter sports, Team Ireland is double the size of the largest previous team. Over the coming days Éabha McKenna (Wicklow) and Finlay Wilson (Cookstown/France) compete in the Alpine Skiing events, and for the first time ever Ireland will be represented in Luge by Lily Cooke (Dublin) and in Dual Moguls by Thomas Dooley (Kilkenny/Brisbane).
The first athlete in action will be Donabate sixteen-year-old Cooke, competing in the Alpensia Sliding Centre that was used in the Pyeongchang Olympic Games in 2018. Juggling training with her Leaving Cert studies, Cooke first took an interest in the sport of Luge when she watched Irish Olympian Elsa Desmond compete at the Beijing Games. She reached out to the Irish Luge Federation, and now coached by Desmond, she has now qualified for the Youth Olympic Games, adding a major event to her steep fifteen month learning experience. Cooke competes in the Women’s Luge on Saturday 20 January, in the qualifying rounds.
Alpine Skiers McKenna and Wilson have a full week of competition to look forward to at the Jeongseon High 1 Ski Resort, where they will race the Slalom, Super G, Giant Slalom and Alpine Combined between the 21 – 25 January. Wicklow’s McKenna, who now lives in Switzerland, competed in last year’s Winter European Youth Olympic Festival, while for Wilson, this is his first multi-sport event. Wilson moved to Chamonix with his family when he was younger.
The final athlete to compete for Team Ireland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games is Thomas Dooley in the Dual Moguls. Moguls are a series of bumps on a piste, the courses are between 200 and 270 metres long on a steep slope. The athletes perform jumps and tricks on the moguls as they come down the hill, with Dual Moguls forming an elimination round with athletes competing side by side. The final scores are determined based on the speed, technical application, form and difficulty of the run. Dooley’s sister Claire narrowly missed out on qualifying for Team Ireland in Beijing 2022.
Speaking ahead of the Games Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Gangwon 2024, Nancy Chillingworth said,
“It’s a real privilege to work with athletes at this stage in their sporting career. Our focus in Team Ireland at this level of their development is on really capitalising on all the learning opportunities, whilst also supporting them to perform at their highest level. More broadly, it is really exciting to have Irish representation in three different disciplines. This is the fourth edition of the Games, and the first time that we have had athletes competing in events other than Alpine Skiing. We are looking forward to getting the Games underway.”
Live coverage of the Games can be found HERE, with regular updates on the Team Ireland social media handles. The Opening Ceremony of the Winter Youth Olympic Games takes place on Friday 19 January, at 11am Irish time, and will be held in the Gangneung Oval and Pyeongchang Dome.
Éabha McKenna Alpine Skiing (Wicklow/Switzerland)
Finlay Wilson Alpine Skiing (Cookstown via mother/France/England)
Lily Cooke Luge (Donabate, Dublin)
Thomas Dooley Dual Moguls (Kilkenny via parents/Brisbane/Whistler)
SCHEDULE (all times Irish)
|23:30 (19 January)
|Super G (W)
|Super G (M)
|Alpine Combined Super G (W)
|Alpine Combined Super G (M)
|Giant Slalom (W)
|Giant Slalom (M)
|Dual Moguls (M)