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The 5 Irish Competitors We'll Be Pinning Our Hopes On At The Winter Olympics

The 5 Irish Competitors We'll Be Pinning Our Hopes On At The Winter Olympics
By Gavin Cooney Updated

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang kicks off this week. If you're wondering who is competing for Ireland at the Winter Olympics, then read on, as we profile the five athletes who will be competing for Team Ireland.

Who is Competing for Ireland at the Winter Olympics? 

Seamus O'Connor - Men's Halfpipe (Snowboard)

O'Connor will be Ireland's flag-bearer at Friday's opening ceremony, having competed at the men's halfpipe at the 2014 games at the age of just 16. Californian-born, O'Connor has a Dublin grandfather and a grandmother from Drogheda. He finished in 10th place at the 2015 Slopestyle World Championships in Kreischberg, Austria.

Patrick McMillan - Alpine Ski (Giant Slalom), Super-G & Downhill

McMillan was born in Donegal, but is currently living and training in Austria. Having competed for Ireland at the 2015 Alpine World Championships in Colorado and at the 2017 Alpine World Championships in St Moritz, this is McMillan's first appearance at the Winter Olympics. He could have been a household name for another reason, however.

In a former life, he shared a Leinster under-19 dressing room with Tadhg Furlong and Jack Conan. Remarkably, an administrative error cost him in rugby - he was, in fact, registered as being a couple of months too old to compete for the team, led him to a (hurtling, downhill) path less travelled.

Tess Arbez - Alpine Ski (Slalom), Giant Slalom


Arbez will next week become just the sixth woman ever to compete for Ireland at the Winter Olympics. Still a teenager, French-born Arbez previously represented Ireland at the 2017 Alpine World Championships, finding a link through her Carlow-born father.

Thomas Westgard - Cross-Country Skiing

Born in Norway, Westgard will represent Ireland at the cross-country skiing in Pyeongchang having also donned Irish at the Nordic World Championships last year.


Brendan 'Bubba' Newby - Freeski (Half Pipe)

Newby easily wins the prize for the best-named Irish athlete ever seen at the Winter Games. Newby was born in Cork to American parents before all moved back to Utah, where Newby learned to skit. He has since won the USASA Nationals Overall category two years in-a-row and finished in 25th place at the 2017 FIS World Championships.

His spot in Pyeongchang, was in doubt having finished one spot outside of the Top 30 in qualifying. One of those ahead of him dropped out through injury a fortnight ago, however, earning Newby a reprieve.


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