Winter EYOF Vuokatti 2022: Meet Team Ireland

The Irish tricolour is being proudly flown by four athletes competing in the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival in Vuokatti, Finland. The all-female team consists of Megan Ryan, Charlotte Turner and Kailey Murphy who are competing  in the Alpine Skiing events whilst Elizabeth Golding is making history as the first Irish figure skater.

Whilst the four girls live and train abroad, their Irish connections are undeniable and something they are all immensely proud of. Learn more about the girls below!

Kailey Murphy lives in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and is currently training out of Aspen. Her Dad hails from Leopardstown, Dublin and Kailey doesn’t hesitate to say so. “I am Irish. I consider Ireland my home”. Kailey also loves eating Teddy’s Ice Cream with her cousins when they are together. Kailey is inspired by her siblings, particularly Matt who with Kailey’s sister, Elle, competed for Ireland in EYOF Sarajevo 2019.

Megan Ryan, Ireland’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony, lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts, and trains in Vermont at Sugarbush Mountain. The majority of Megan’s immediate family lives in Ireland Megan explained. “My mam is from Roscommon and dad is from Dublin. Pretty much all of my cousins are still here”. Her family often splits their summer holidays between the two counties. Megan concentrates on Slalom and Giant Slalom and is excited to experience parallel skiing at these games.

A Connecticut high school student, Charlotte Turner is far from typical in that she is also a top athlete. With a strong accent and a classically American outgoing personality, you could be forgiven for missing Charlotte’s association with Ireland were it not for her team Ireland tracksuit top. However, given the fond affinity with which she speaks of her visits to county Galway, it’s clear that the teenager strongly identifies with her heritage.

“I still have family there now. It’s really fun to go visit, I feel the connection,” explained Charlotte when we met in the athlete’s canteen. “It is clear that the 18-year-old skier feels a deep-rooted affection for her ancestral home, brought out recently by a long overdue, pandemic delayed visit. “I hadn’t seen my cousins or my family in so long. The connection picked right back up, we hurled in the front yard, so that was really fun.”

Elizabeth Golding, Ireland’s first figure skater at an Olympic event, lives and trains in Dubai. Elizabeth is a well-rounded skater and puts an emphasis on style. “I love the spins we do but I have a love hate relationship with the jumps. They are great when they come off but falling hurts!” Without a doubt, Elizabeth is making history at these games. She is a trailblazer in her discipline and provides a positives role model for winter sport athletes in Ireland.

Despite having never met prior to the games the girls have bonded very quickly. In true Irish fashion they are well known around the athlete village as the life of the party. “Whoever was dancing with us at the opening ceremony, they were the best. Whoever joined our Tiktok, I think it was Iceland and Great Britan, they’re awesome,” Kailey informed us.

Charlotte is the team DJ, and the girls are really enjoying their time together. The girls are really making the most of their interactions with the other athletes. They all beamed when showing us the Olympic pins they have collected. “Israel’s is my favourite” explained Elizabeth.

The four girls and their families are all excited to fly back to Dublin after the games. They will certainly enjoy being back, feeling more Irish than ever after an unforgettable experience in Vuokatti.

Darragh Lyons and Padraig Faherty

21 March 2022; Team Ireland athletes, from left, Charlotte Turner, Megan Ryan, Elizabeth Golding and Kailey Murphy speaking to EYOF reporters Padraig Faherty and Darragh Lyons during day two of the 2022 European Youth Winter Olympic Festival in Vuokatti, Finland. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
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