Diaspora Olympians come into the cold for Ireland at Sochi

Five have officially been informed they would be heading to the Winter Olympics

 Clifton Wrottesley came fourth in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Clifton Wrottesley came fourth in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 01:00

They are the diaspora Olympians. One is a 16-year-old snowboarder from San Diego. One is a skeleton rider from Vancouver. One is a downhill skier from Utah, another a downhill skier from just north of Birmingham. And one is a cross-country skier who was born in Cork and grew up in Ontario.

Together, they are Ireland’s team for the Winter Olympics beginning in Sochi, Russia in just over a fortnight.

All five were officially informed yesterday that they would be heading to the games, although the Olympic Council of Ireland will not be formally releasing their names until this Friday. Though their medal prospects are virtually non-existent, they keep up Ireland’s record of having been represented at all but one Olympics since 1992.

Seamus O’Connor is the brightest light among them, a Californian teenager who has qualified for two snow-boarding disciplines and who competes under an Irish banner thanks to grandparents who hail from Dublin and Drogheda. He will be joined by Sean Greenwood, son of a Galway mother and a Canadian father. Greenwood competes in the skeleton, the event in which Ireland came closest to a medal when Clifton Wrottesley came fourth in Salt Lake City in 2002.

They are joined by alpine skier Conor Lyne whose father is from Kerry and Cork-born Nordic skier Jan Rossiter. The last place will go to 17-year-old Florence Bell from Streetly in England.

The Winter Olympics opening ceremony takes place on February 7th.