Get your TV snacks ready- The Winter Olympics are about to begin.
The opening ceremony in Beijing will begin around noon today, with freestyle skier Brendan Newby and luge runner Elsa Desmond honored as our nation’s flag bearers.
And you can look forward to an Oscar-worthy masterpiece that spares no expense for the spectacular opening, which takes place at the city’s famous Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Our six aces will participate in various events including alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and halfpipe skiing.
For the first time, we’ll also have an athlete battle it out in the luge, with Elsa Desmond taking to the track on Monday.
2022 will mark the eighth Winter Olympic Games for Team Ireland since 1992, bringing the total number of Irish Winter Olympic athletes to 33.
And with the number three considered lucky in Chinese culture, perhaps this could be our year to win a glorious medal.
Irish news starts today with the opening ceremony live on the RTE New Channel at 11:30am and viewers can catch up on all the latest matches on the daily highlights at 3pm.
So keep an eye out for this SUPER BIG SIX at the big event that runs until February 20th.
Alpine skiing – Tess Arbez
Talented skier Tess Arbez was just 20 years old when she made her Winter Olympics debut in Pyeongchang 2018.
The French-Irish skier was only the sixth woman to represent Ireland at the Winter Olympics at the time and won two top 50 results in the slalom and giant slalom.
And here’s hoping for a strong second appearance, as she climbs the slopes for massive slalom, slalom, and super G events.
Regardless of her track record, Tess is set to make history as the first Irish woman to race in Olympic super-G on 11 February, the last of three events. her case.
Tess, born in Vetraz, Monthoux, France, actually took time off skiing to complete her first year of study in biomedical sciences.
When she was in her second year, Covid succeeded, giving her free time to return to her number one passion.
Tess hopes to do better than she did at the last Olympics.
She said: “I hope this time I will be more mature and ski better because the first time was really stressful. I was very worried. You know the whole country is watching you and your parents are down there waiting for you.”
When can we see her? Tess will compete in the Giant Slalom on Monday, February 7, followed by the Slalom on Wednesday February 9, and the Super G on Friday, February 11.
Alpine skiing – Jack Gower
Also flying the flag for Ireland on the slopes is Alpine skier Jack Gower, who is competing in his first Olympic Games.
The former junior world champion – who switched from GB to represent Ireland last summer – will compete in the Downhill, Giant Slalom, Super G and Alpine Combine events.
Adrenaline junkie Jack, 27, was attracted to the super giant slalom known as Super G, in particular, because of its insane speed.
He said on Olymp Trade.ie: “In Super-G we go 120 km an hour, downhill is like 150 km. There are leaps downhill and more turns in Super-G. “
At breakneck speed, it’s no surprise that Jack has suffered more than a few injuries in his time.
During his career, he has broken both collarbones, dislocated his right shoulder twice, broken three legs and damaged ligaments in both knees, as well as a severe concussion.
“But I like the freedom to go fast,” he added.
When can we see him? Jack will be the first Irish athlete to start his Beijing 2022 campaign in alpine skiing in the early hours of Sunday, February 6.
Cross-country skiing – Thomas Maloney Westgaard
Heading into the second Olympic Games after debuting in Pyeongchang, Westgaard will compete in the 15 km, 30 km and 50 km events in Beijing.
Born to a Galway mother and Norwegian father, the 26-year-old is a consistently respected athlete on the world track in cross-country skiing.
Most recently at the Olympics, he finished at 60 in all three events – 60th in Cross Country Figure Skating; 62nd in the classic cross country sprint and 63rd in the 15 km freestyle.
His 2018 result was Ireland’s best ever in the Olympic cross country.
And now that he’s moved up the world rankings, he’s aiming to improve his 2018 results.
He said: “Back then I wasn’t even in the top 400 in the world, now I’m in the top 85 so I’m working hard to continue that progress.”
When can we see him? He will compete in three events in Beijing: figure skating 15km x 15km (February 6), classic 15 km (February 11) and 50 km, the last event to feature a single athlete. Ireland supporters on February 19.
Freestyle skiing – Brendan ‘Bubba’ Newby
Halfpipe skier Brendan ‘Bubba’ Newby will also be returning for a second Winter Olympics, following his debut in Pyeongchang.
Newby’s event only made its Olympic debut at Sochi 2014, so it’s a relatively new addition to the Olympics.
But Bubba’s dream of competing in sports dates back to when he was a child, watching the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Raised in Utah, Newby was born in Cork, where his parents lived for two years while his father taught economics at University College Cork.
“My father took me to a couple of events at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and since then I have always wanted to be a track athlete,” he said.
Whatever happens on the slopes, Bubba reckons a REAL win will inspire other young Irishmen to follow in his footsteps.
He said on Olymp Trade.ie: “If any Irish kid could see me and say ‘it’s possible’ and join in, that would be the greatest thing in the world for me.”
When can we see him? The 25-year-old faces the longest wait of any Irish athlete in Beijing with a second-half qualifier on February 17.
Luge – Elsa Desmond
It’s been a hectic run to the Winter Olympics for Dr Desmond – who is swapping out her usual scrubs in the hospital for lycra over the next few weeks.
The 24-year-old, who is a full-time doctor at Southend University Hospital in the UK, is about to make history by becoming Ireland’s first luger at the Winter Olympics.
Desmond, who is originally from Cavan and Cork, was primarily aiming for Milan 2026, and a strong showing in the latter part of the season helped put her name in history as Ireland’s first luge athlete .
And she can’t wait to see her name in the history books.
She said: “Becoming the first Irish athlete to compete in the Olympics for the sport and the first woman in the world, it was great because I felt like I was creating something. , and I hope others will follow in my footsteps. “
When can we see her? Luger Elsa Desmond will become Ireland’s first female Olympic athlete to compete in the event in her first run on 7 February. She will compete again, the next day, 8. February.
Snowboard Halfpipe – Seamus O’Connor
Beijing 2022 will see O’Connor become the first Team Ireland Winter Olympic athlete to compete in three Winter Olympics, making him an Olympics veteran at just 24 years old.
Prior to that, he competed at Sochi 2014, where he was the event’s youngest competitor and placed 15th in the round and 17th in the skating category.
And four years later, O’Connor – whose paternal grandparents are from Drogheda and Dublin – recovered from the knee injury that robbed him of his entire season to return in time for Pyeongchang 2018, where he finished 18th in the half. one.
Seamus hopes to make the top 15 – but he intends to enjoy the Olympics regardless of the outcome.
He added: “The dream is to be in the top 15 but right now I am focusing on staying healthy and enjoying the journey.
“I’m not sure if I’ll ever be in another Olympics so I’m trying to soak up every minute because this could be my last competitive season.”
When we watch him? His campaign began with qualifying on February 9.
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/8311839/meet-team-irelands-super-six-winter-olympians/ Meet Team Ireland’s Super Six who are winning the Winter Olympics