Team Announced in Association with Deloitte, Proud Partner to Team Ireland
Team Ireland has officially named the team that will compete in the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in just over ten days. Six athletes have been named and they will compete throughout the Games which will run from the 4 – 20 February. This will be the eighth Winter Olympic Games for Team Ireland over thirty years and brings the total number of Irish Winter Olympians to thirty-three.
Beijing 2022 will see four of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympians return, and they will be joined by two first time Olympians. This will be the fourth time that Ireland will field a six person team in the Winter Olympics, in a year of firsts. For the first time we will have a three-time Winter Olympian compete, the first time Team Ireland will compete in luge, and also the first time that the Winter Olympians attend a pre-games training camp.
TEAM IRELAND – BEIJING 2022
Alpine Skiing Tess Arbez.
With roots in Carlow and Dublin, the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympian is set to compete in the Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super G events in Beijing. She was born in Vetraz, Monthoux in France, near the Swiss border, and currently studies biomedical studies in Geneva.
Alpine Skiing Jack Gower
Gower’s paternal grandmother was born in Dublin and settled in Skibbereen and is competing in his first Olympic Games. The former Junior World Champion for GB is set to compete in the Downhill, Giant Slalom, Super G and Alpine Combined events.
Cross Country Skiing Thomas Maloney Westgaard
Heading into his second Olympic Games, Westgaard is competing in the 15km, 30km and 50km events in Beijing. With a Galway mother and Norwegian father, he is a well respected consistent athlete on the world circuit in Cross Country Skiing, training up to five hours or 58km in once session.
Freestyle Skiing Brendan ‘Bubba’ Newby
Cork born Brendan Newby, is better known as Bubba. He competed in the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, fulfilling a childhood dream he had since first watching the Olympics in Salt Lake City as a child. He will now be competing in Beijing as an even better skier, pulling his first ‘double’ in Austria in November.
Luge Elsa Desmond
This will be the first time that Ireland will have a luge athlete in the Olympics, thanks to the talent and drive of Desmond, who set up the Irish Luge Federation herself in order to compete for Ireland. The qualified medical doctor was targeting Milan 2026 primarily, and a strong showing in the latter part of the season helped secure her name in history as Ireland’s first luge athlete. Her paternal grandmother is from Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, and her grandfather is from Cork.
Snowboard Halfpipe Seamus O’Connor
Beijing 2022 will see O’Connor become the first Team Ireland Winter Olympian to compete in three Winter Olympic Games. He previously competed in both Sochi 2014, Pyeongchang 2018, and at 24 is already a veteran of the sport. His paternal grandparents are from Drogheda and Dublin, and he lives in Utah, USA.
The Team Ireland athletes are currently at a pre-games camp in Innsbruck, where they are training from their base in Mutters. The camp offers an important opportunity for the athletes to get to know each other and bond ahead of competition. The team culture and mutual support is increasingly important for a Games that will be held under strict protocols, and also ensures that athletes can train in a controlled and safe environment in the days leading up to travelling to Beijing, on the 26 January.
Speaking about the official announcement, Team Ireland Chef de Mission Nancy Chillingworth spoke about the resilience of the athletes in the lead up to these Games specifically,
“The resilience and determination that these athletes displayed throughout the qualification process and throughout the challenges with which they were faced is a credit to them and we are very much looking forward to supporting them as they achieve their dreams in Beijing 2022.
“Throughout the past few years, due to Covid, athletes have endured changes to qualification pathways, experience cancelled qualification events, and have adapted their training on a continuous basis to ensure they could be as prepared can be. The fear of a positive test has peppered their journey, and yet still, their steely focus has been commendable.
“There was a lot of competition to get on the team, and while the focus over the coming weeks will naturally be on the team, it is important to acknowledge the commitment and resilience shown by those athletes who missed out on qualification. I have no doubt that they too will have their opportunity to shine in the future.”
Double Olympian Seamus O’Connor is heading into his third Olympics, and creating history in becoming the first Irish person to compete in three Winter Olympic Games. Speaking on this O’Connor said,
“It’s an incredible honour to be heading into my third Olympic Games. I was the flagbearer for the last Games, and that was one of the most memorable moments in my life. I feel privileged to be able to compete in Beijing, and am really looking forward to getting to spending time with my teammates, and to what the next few weeks will bring!”
While Chillingworth and a small team have arrived in Beijing for set up, the athletes and the rest of the support team will travel out on the 26 January. The Beijing Games is spread across three distinct villages and zones – Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, with Irish interest in the latter two.
Last Friday the Road to Beijing challenge was officially launched. Coinciding with the Winter Olympic schedule, this OFI Dare to Believe schools challenge will bring the Winter Olympic Games to school children right around Ireland and will be based on the Road to Tokyo which saw 55,000 children participate. Schools nationwide are invited to sign up and register AT THIS LINK.
The official team announcement for the Team Ireland Winter Olympic team travelling to Beijing 2022 is in association with Deloitte, proud partner of Team Ireland.
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