A teenager from San Diego is to represent Ireland with pride at the Winter Olympics in Russia next February. The Irish American snowboarding sensation Seamus O’Connor qualifies for Ireland as his grandparents originated from both Drogheda and Dublin on the east coast of Ireland.
16-year-old Seamus who hails from San Diego in the southern California, was spotted by Nike three years ago, began snowboarding at the tender age of four.
He declared for Ireland in 2010 with the sole intention of representing the country at the winter games in Russia next year.
While speaking to an Irish newspaper O’Connor revealed that “with the US team, it was not possible to make the Olympics. There are at least 20 really talented snowboarders but only four can get picked.
“The likelihood of me being one of those four isn’t good. My dad brought up the idea of representing Ireland and I thought it would be a privilege to ride under the Irish flag.
Ironically the Russian games will be held in Sochi, close to the border with Georgia where his mother Elena’s family originates from.
O’Connor will be one of the youngest competitors at the Winter Olympics but he already has the points required to qualify in the Half-pipe contest, but he also hopes to compete in the Slope Style competition. He added: “Right now medals aren’t in my hopes. Being 16, I’ll be one of the youngest. It’s just a crazy ride. I’ll be happy to be there and give it my best.”
Seamus is currently preparing for the Olympics at his training base in the Colorado mountain region. Fingers crossed he’ll create a bit of history at the Winter Olympics and include a trip to Ireland to celebrate!