‘This has been unreal. For the rest of my life I’m an Olympian’

Brendan ‘Bubba’ Newby was Ireland’s first ever half-pipe skier in the Winter Olympics

Brendan Newby of Ireland competed during the Freestyle Skiing Men’s Ski Halfpipe Qualification on day eleven of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Brendan Newby of Ireland competed during the Freestyle Skiing Men’s Ski Halfpipe Qualification on day eleven of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

 

Brendan ‘Bubba’ Newby, the first Irish half-pipe skier in the history of the Winter Olympics, was just one place off qualifying for the final at the half-way point of his qualifying group in PyeongChang on Tuesday.

But a fall after the second trick of his second run meant the 21-year-old freestyler could not improve on his first round score of 53.80 which eventually earned him 22nd from a field of 27 skiers on his Olympic debut.

Newby was Ireland’s first half-pipe skier in the history of the Winter Olympics. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Newby was Ireland’s first half-pipe skier in the history of the Winter Olympics. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

“It’s insane to be Ireland’s first every freestyle skier and first ever half-piper,” he said. “I didn’t think that would ever happen! After my run I had a few kids message me on Instagram, now that it has happened I don’t want to be the last (Irish) freestyle skier. I want to get more people on the team, I want to get more people skiing for Ireland and get more people involved in what I love. This is the most fun thing you could ever do,” he enthused. “I hope I made it look like I was having a good time because I was!”

“This has been unreal. For the rest of my life I’m an Olympian. That’s something I’ve wanted my entire life so for it to actually happen – I can’t even put it into words!On the second run I just popped a little too hard. If you pop too hard on a half-pipe you kind of fall out of the sky pretty far and I just couldn’t hold onto it. My hips were behind my feet (on landing) and when you’re there it’s a pretty tough position to get out,” he explained.

“My first run was good. I was just going out there fired up to go big and it worked. I had one more trick that I wanted to put down in my second run. It was just about improving. I didn’t even know what place I was after the first run, I’ve only just found that out,” he admitted.

Newby had a small contingent of vocal fans at the Phoenix Snow Park. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Newby had a small contingent of vocal fans at the Phoenix Snow Park. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Brendan revealed that he had used a special technique to prepare him mentally: “Our Irish team slogan out here is ‘dinna (dinner) time!’ I was just yelling that out loud because the more you can distract your brain from thinking about it and getting in your head the easier it is! So (at the start) I just distracted myself with my good friend and coach Corey (Jackson) and Seamus (O’Connor), they were just helping to stoke me out.”

To have made the final, Newby needed to finish in the top 12 and the 12th man scored 68.60 points. Americans filled the top three qualifying spots and they didn’t even include USA’s reigning Olympic champion David Wise who was only in eighth place with 79.60.

Newby was born in Cork when his father Van was working in UCC 20 years ago as a guest professor of economics and he has grown up in Utah, USA. Asked about the possibility of now becoming a two-time Olympian in 2022 he said: “I’d love to do another four years but I don’t look that far ahead though personally. My next goal is the World Championships in 2019. They’re in Park City (Utah), close to where I live, so it’s going to be a fun contest and that’s my next goal.”

Ireland has one more skier in action in PyeongChang. Thomas Westgaard-Maloney will compete in the 50km Class mass start cross-country race on Saturday, February 24th.

Newby performs a flip. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Newby performs a flip. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.