TEAM IRELAND - BEIJING DAY FIVE - Snowboard, Slalom

O’CONNOR 15th IN SNOWBOARD HALFPIPE, 48th FOR ARBEZ IN SLALOM

Today Snowboarder Seamus O’Connor became the first Team Ireland athlete to ever compete in three Winter Olympic Games, when he finished fifteenth in the Halfpipe with a score of 57.0. Tess Arbez was also in action, finishing 48th overall in the Women’s Slalom after two clean runs, in an icy event that saw thirty athletes marked as DNF.

Before the Slalom Arbez was determined to get two clean runs, after her disappointment in the Giant Slalom, where she was one of the non-finishers. The icy conditions on the course were similar to the last day, and many of the favourites in the Slalom, such as top ranked Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) were caught out and were listed as DNF.

In her first run she finished 55thwith 1:07.83, and moved up to 48th overall with a time of 1:06.78 in her second run, giving a total of 2:14.61. Petra Vlhova (SVK) won the gold medal ahead of Austria’s Katharina Leinsberger in silver; Wendy Holdener (SUI) rounded off the podium with a bronze medal.

In the Snowboard Halfpipe O’Connor scored his top result, 57.0 in the opening run with a ride that included a range of tricks which started with the backside air and ended with a front side double-cork 1080. The first run saw several of the top seeded athletes coming down and scoring low, and O’Connor went into the second run ranked eleventh.

The Snowboard Halfpipe is a competition performed in a half tube of snow, where athletes are judged based on the tricks they perform in their run. They have two opportunities or run in the qualification rounds, with their best run counting. The top twelve athletes advance to the finals where they can contest the medals. There are six judges who make assessments based on Amplitude, Difficulty, Variety, Execution and Progression, the top and bottom scores are taken away, with the average score being the result for the athlete.

While disappointed to not better his first run, O’Connor relished the experience and opportunity to compete in this third Games,

“Snowboarding is, to me, the funnest thing in the world. And every day that I get to ride a snowboard, I’m thankful. My first run was a little bit sketchy. I had it down better yesterday, so I mena, I put it down and I was stoked for that. But I was really looking towards my second run to come back and clean it up and just put that Seamus signature on it.

“But something went wrong on the takeoff of my first trick on the second run. And I had to pull out of the double, which then ended the run for me. But it’s snowboarding and it’s never perfect. And that’s alright. I’m super thankful to be down there in one piece and to be in my third Games. Overall, it’s been an incredible experience.”

While the athletes are competing in Beijing, over 20,000 schoolchildren in Ireland are taking part in the Road to Beijing Olympic Schools Challenge, and have been sending messages, chants and posters to support them while they are at the Games.

Speaking about the boost that the messages have given the team, O’Connor addressed the children saying,

I can't thank all the school kids back in Ireland enough. It's the best part of these games, hands down. You guys have filled me with motivation and passion and so much light and energy. I, like I said, can't thank you enough. I hope that I can get back to Ireland and come see you guys in person. You guys are truly stars. Thank you so much for your support.”

Tomorrow Jack Gower will be the only Team Ireland athlete to compete, when he races the Alpine Combined, an event that includes Downhill and Slalom, with the overall standing being a combination of the two individual times.

RESULTS:

Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Qualifying

Top ranks going into final (12 to qualify)

First Ayumu Hirano (Japan) 93.25

Second Scotty James (Australia) 91.25

Third Ruka Hirano (Japan) 87.00

15th Overall – Seamus O’Connor (IRL) 57.00

Alpine Skiing – Women’s Slalom

Gold – Petra Vlhova (SVK) 1:44.98

Silver – Katharina Liensberger (AUT) 1:45.06 (+0.08)

Bronze – Wendy Holdener (SUI) 1:45.10 (+0.12)

48thTess Arbez (IRL) 2:14.61 (+29.63)

SCHEDULE 10 FEBRUARY

02:30 Jack Gower, Alpine Skiing, Alpine Combined Downhill

06:15 Jack Gower, Alpine Skiing, Alpine Combined Slalom

For full schedules, results and information on Team Ireland head to www.olympics.ie, and

DOWNLOAD THE TEAM IRELAND MEDIA GUIDE HERE

The updated schedule for Team Ireland in Beijing 2022 can be found HERE.

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