Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 - Team Ireland Overview

Team Ireland has two athletes competing in the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne. While the Games run from the 9 - 22 January, the Irish focus will be solely on the Alpine Skiing where Matt Ryan and Emma Austin will be competing.

The Athletes:

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is a seventeen year old Alpine Skier competing in Lausanne 2020. Born in Massachusetts, Matt attends Waterville Valley Academy, where he is in his final year of school, with the Academy combining school work and training in a balanced structure, which allows him to maximise his training and performance. Matt competed in the EYOF in Sarajevo & East Sarajevo in February, where he qualified for the second run in the slalom, finishing 26th overall, and fifth in his age group.

While Matt is entering Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G and combined Alpine, slalom is his favourite event. He will be in action on the 10 January (Super G/Combined Alpine Super G), 11 January (Combined Alpine Slalom), 13 January (Giant Slalom), 14 January (Slalom).

Matt's dad is from Ballinteer in Dublin, and his mom is from Roscommon, they moved to the US in their twenties, before Matt was born.

Listen to Matt chat about how he got into the sport, and what an average day looks like in his world:


Emma Austin

Emma Austin is a seventeen year old Alpine Skier who competes on Team Ireland in Lausanne 2020. Skiing has been in Emma's DNA since she was 2 years old, and her parents even met on the ski slopes. She spent her early years in Wyoming, but has since honed her trade on the east coast of the US, in faster icier conditions, where she lives in New Hampshire.

Emma also attends a ski academy - the Green Mountain Valley School, where she skis in the morning and does her schoolwork in the afternoon. At the Youth Olympics Emma will be competing in Giant Slalom and Slalom - with her competition taking place on 12 January (Giant Slalom) and 14 January (Slalom).

During the summer months she also competes for Ireland in Lacrosse, as if one green jersey wasn't enough!

Clonakilty can stake their claim on Emma, as her Irish passport comes courtesy of her paternal grandfather who left the West Cork town as a young child, he was one of eleven children and the family sailed across the Atlantic to Boston where they settled for a while.

Listen to Emma's full interview here:

The Events

Alpine Skiing takes place in Les Diablerets which is approximately 2 hours from Lausanne, with all athletes and spectators encouraged to travel by public transport, which involves a train from Lausanne to Aigle taking in the breathtaking views of Lac Leman, followed by a train up the mountain to the ski resort. Alpine Skiing is when the toe and heel are attached to the ski.

A local tram climbs a hill away from the lake in the early evening light ahead of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Sunday 05 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC.

Opening Ceremony All Evening 9 January 2020
Super G (men) Matt Ryan 12:30 10 January 2020
Alpine Combined (men) Matt Ryan 09:30 11 January 2020
Giant Slalom (women) Emma Austin 09:00 12 January 2020
Giant Slalom (men) Matt Ryan 09:00 13 January 2020
Slalom (women) Emma Austin 08:30 14 January 2020
Slalom (men) Matt Ryan 10:00 14 January 2020

The main difference between the Slalom, Giant Slalom (GS) and Super Giant Slalom (Super G) is the distance between the poles or gates, and the length of the skis! On one extreme slalom has poles spaced closely together, which results in quick, short turns and is considered to be a technical event. At the other extreme the Super G is a speed event with the poles spaced further apart. Giant Slalom falls between Slalom and Super G.

The Combined Alpine is an event that is decided based on an athlete competing in both the Super G and Slalom, with the best athletes demonstrating a solid mix of overall expertise in Alpine Skiing, mastering both the technical slalom event and the more speed based Super G.

The Slalom involves the skiers completing two runs on two different courses. The slalom courses consist of two single poles through which the competitor has to ski. Slalom events are run in a race against the clock format, with the competitors aiming to cross the line in the fastest combined times.

In Giant Slalom the gates are spaced further apart that in slalom, but not as far apart as in Super G. In Giant Slalomthe course consists of two double sets of poles linked by a gate panel through which the competitor has to ski. The competitors complete two runs, with the competitor with the fastest combined time being deemed the winner.

In Super - G the competition consists of one single run. The layout of the course and gates are similar to the giant slalom, but the distance between the competitor's speed increases. In Super G competitors use longer skis than in Giant Slalom and Slalom and are often attempting to gain speed by tucking, bringing their body towards their knees in order to increase aerodynamics and speed.

The Youth Olympic Village

This is a sustainable games, which means that there were no purpose built venue, only either existing venues, or those that were already planned - such as the 'Vortex' where the Youth Olympic Village is. It is a stunning location based close to the University and to the IOC Olympic House.

Wide angle view from the top of the Vortex building at the Youth Olympic Village. The Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joel Marklund. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC




© 2020 Olympic Federation of Ireland.
Registered in Dublin No. 82262.
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