At a well attended press call in the Canadian Embassy, the following line up was confirmed:
Women’s Bobsleigh: Aoife Hoey (sled pilot), Claire Bergin (brakewoman), Leona Byrne (alternate brakewoman), Men’s Skeleton Bobsleigh: Pat Shannon, Women’s Alpine Slalom: Kirsty McGarry, Men’s Alpine Slalom: Shane O’Connor, Men’s 15K Cross Country Skiing: PJ Barron.
The team’s Chef de Mission is Siobhan Hoey who will be joined by Dr. Marie Elaine Grant (chief physiotherapist), Niall O’Connor (Alpine Team Manager), Ken Ellis (Alpine coach), Colin Gaffney (Alpine coach), Rolf Haggstrom (Cross country coach) Horst Horlein (Sliding Coach) and Barry Delany (Bobsleigh technician).
Stephen Martin, CEO of the Olympic Council of Ireland congratulated the athletes on achieving qualification in so many difficult sports disciplines. “We can be very proud of the fact that 6 athletes qualified across 4 disciplines and look forward to many strong performances in Vancouver,” he added ” the OCI have supported Winter sports preparation through athlete scholarships, the purhase of technical equipment and science and medical interventions over the past 2 years in particular”.
He also thanked the National Federations; Snowsports and Irish Bobsleigh Association, for the manor in which they have utilised the funding and support to achieve qualification of 6 athletes.
The Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Patrick Binns said that the Irish team would receive a big welcome in Vancouver, especially from the large Irish community in the
city. “All is set for a magnificent Winter Games in Vancouver, especially in the adjacent winter sports resort of Whistler, where all of the Irish team will compete,” he added.
Ireland’s challenge will be headed by the Women’s Bobsleigh team of Aoife Hoey and Claire Bergin. Competing in a bobsled provided by the Olympic Council, the young athletes will make Irish sporting history by becoming the first Irish women to compete in this very demanding event at a Winter Games.
The Vancouver Games will commence on Feb 12th and over 80 countries will compete for medals.