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McGarry Giant Slalom next up for Team Ireland

February 24, 2010

This will be McGarry’s second Winter Olympic Games having finished 35th in  the Slalom in Torino 2006. She is suported by Snowsport Ireland , the ISC, and has an Olympic Scholarship from the Olympic Council of Ireland to help with her international and Olympic programme. Her biggest supporters though are her parents Ian and Jane, and older sister Tamsen. Ian and Jane are both ski instructors, and of course Tamsen skied for Ireland in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games. They have all made huge sacrifices to assist her to achieve her dream Olympic goal.

McGarry said “Preparations have been going well. Ive been training hard and really enjoying it.Ive had some hard sessions in the gym and on the hill with my coach , Ken Ellis,  and reviewed my days training runs on video to look at areas that i can improve on”


Background information by  Kirsty :

“My parents are both ski instructors and ran their own ski school until recently, so not surprisingly I got a good and early grounding in the sport. I have just one sibling, my sister Tamsen, who is more like a best friend. We started racing at around the same time when I was 9 and she was 12, she naturally became the person I looked up to, she was often on the podium in races and went to the Olympics where she finished 35th in the Slalom from a bib no. of 68. I have aspired to follow in her footsteps; although we were never competitive together, we always just wished for the best result possible for each other yet without easing off on our own performance. Tamsen is a big help to me now as she has studied sport at University and can tell me a lot of useful things about nutrition, physical preparation, sport psychology and even sports law as they were all modules on her course.

My ultimate aims are to represent myself and my country well, including the Olympics, then depending on my performances and funding, try a full season in World Cup racing. I hope that my ski career will be long and successful, but it can’t go on forever, the same is true for any sport, so my plan beyond that is to go to university to study physiotherapy or athletic therapy which really appeals to me and would allow me to do a job I’d love and still stay in the sports world.

June 09 I accepted a place at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to study physiotherapy. For me this was an entirely positive move. I simply adore my life in RCSI, my course is fascinating, full of challenge in subjects I haven’t studied before, like Chemistry & Physics. We did the pre-med course last year and are about to start Physiotherapy 1 this September. I’ll be able to take time out to go to prepare for & compete at the Olympics without sacrificing my peer group who are all brilliant friends”

Heres some information about Giant Slalom and Slalom

Giant Slalom

Giant slalom is similar to the slalom, with fewer, wider and smoother turns. Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day. Usually the first run is held in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The times for both runs are then combined with the fastest total time determining the winner.


Slalom features the shortest course and the quickest turns. As in the giant slalom, each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.

Sport Terms

A mechanical safety device that locks a racer’s boot to their ski.

An alpine skiing discipline that involves the fewest turns and the highest speeds. Racers on the World Cup circuit can exceed speeds of 130 kilometers per hour.

Downhill Suit
A full-body skin-tight racing suit worn by racers to make themselves as aerodynamic as possible.

A metal strip along on the sides of skis. Athletes must know when to shift their weight to use more or less of their edges to get the fastest time.

Equipment Controller
A designated person who checks the athlete’s equipment to make sure they are abiding by the rules.

Poles on a ski course that racers turn around and navigate through as fast as possible.

Giant Slalom
An alpine skiing discipline involving slower speeds, technical turns and a quicker tempo. Each racer has two runs down two different courses. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner. The number of gates in this event ranges from 56 to 70 for men and from 46 to 58 for women.

Groomed Slope
Ski slope terrain that has been smoothed by grooming equipment.

A person who watches a ski race to ensure that every racer passes through each gate properly.

A vital piece of protective equipment worn by racers. Its aerodynamic shape allows skiers to race as fast as possible.

Intermediate Time
The time recorded at specific sections of the race course.

Alpine racers use two ski poles to help them push out of the start gate, allowing them to gain as much momentum as possible before hitting the timing start wand. Poles are straight for technical events and aerodynamically curved for speed events.

The hourglass shape of the sides of the ski, where the waist is narrower than the tip and tail.

Skis are the most important piece of racing equipment. Ski length varies depending on the alpine event — slalom skis are the shortest and downhill skis are longest. Most World Cup racers travel with as many as 20 pairs of skis per discipline.

An alpine skiing discipline involving the shortest course and the quickest turns. As in giant slalom, each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.

In alpine skiing, the athlete may start five seconds before and five seconds after the official start signal. The start referee will give the start notice and then there will be 10 beeps, 1 per second, to indicate the start time window.

Also know as super giant slalom, super-G is an alpine skiing discipline that combines the speed of downhill with the more precise turns of giant slalom. It involves skiing between widely spaced gates as in giant slalom, but with fewer turns over a longer course and with higher speeds — similar to those achieved in downhill. The minimum number of gates is 35 for men and 30 for women.

A grooming machine used to produce the best terrain for alpine racers.

A soft substance applied to the base of a ski for protection and to improve its gliding properties. A racer’s wax choice can determine whether they come first or tenth.

White Out or Mid-Mountain Fog
Poor visibility caused by a combination of fog and snow, usually at high altitudes. In Whistler, this condition is termed mid-mountain fog.

Wind-Chill Factor
Taking wind speed into account when determining the outside air temperature.

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