STRONG SUPER-G SHOWING ROUNDS OUT THE IRISH EYOF CAMPAIGN
YOUTH MULTI-SPORT EVENT COMES TO A CLOSE
29 January 2023 Team Ireland’s Ethan Bouchard and Eábha McKenna completed their final event on the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) schedule yesterday, competing well in the Super-G. Both competitions took place on Monte Lussari, just outside Tarvisio, on the same piste as the other Alpine races earlier this week. The EYOF is a multi-sport event that is modelled on a senior Olympic Games, and that serves as a valuable learning experience for athletes ahead of future competitions.
Speaking after the competition, Team Ireland Chef de Mission for the EYOF Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Performance Manager in the Olympic Federation of Ireland was pleased with how the athletes handled themselves all week highlighting the relevance of events like this to the development of young athletes,
“The week has been a real success for both athletes. In terms of progression, this is the first time that they have experienced a multi-sport event and a high-performance structure with us in the NOC (National Olympic Committee), and that’s hugely important. We get to teach them how to behave and keep true to their own performance in this kind of setting which has a focus on celebration. They will never have experienced anything like this. It is all an added pressure it will stand to them as they continue their pathway through more senior events.
“Eábha is young, she’s one of the youngest athletes competing here, and she has had very little experience on the senior FIS circuit. She’s been really consistent in her performance. In fact this week, she has lowered her FIS points in both her slalom and GS. She will go away having learned a huge amount and bring confidence into the rest of the season. Ethan has been really clear all week that speed is what he wanted to do, and he definitely showed it today. For him to finish just three seconds off the Super-G winner after having that disappointment, demonstrates a huge strength and potential for the future.”
Bouchard impressed in the Boy’s Super-G, finishing just 3:18 outside the winning time, and in 35th place overall with 1:06.93. The seventeen-year-old was disappointed with his Slalom and Giant Slalom races earlier in the week, so has happy to finish on a high,
“I struggled a bit earlier in the week, so I am glad to come down and finish in a good time in a super-fun course. I pulled some moves that I had never done before, like the pre-jump. But I thought starting back of the pack, having had a difficult week, I’d go for it.”
McKenna was competing in the Super-G for the first time at this level. The event, which is based on speed over technical ability, was a good debut, netting a time of 1:12.65 and 47th place for one of the youngest athletes in the field. The Wicklow skier enjoyed the whole experience saying,
“It was going well and I gave myself a bit too much space at the gates. Then the jump came and I opened up and caught lots of air there. It was a lot of fun, even though I did mess up the jump! It’s been amazing here, the atmosphere is just really good. It’s really cool I got to be here and I’m happy with my results.”
The Closing Ceremony also took place last night, athletes from right across the Games gathered in the ice hockey arena in Udine for a night of celebration and where the EYOF flag was handed over to Georgia who will host the next edition of the winter EYOF in 2025.
RESULTS DAY FIVE:
Ethan Bouchard – Boy’s Super-G – 35th with 1:06.93 (+3.88)
Eábha McKenna – Girl’s Super) G – 47th with 1:12.65 (+7.33)
This concludes the first of four events for Team Ireland this year, with the focus for the Olympic Federation of Ireland now switching to the European Games in Krakow this June, followed by the summer EYOF and the World Beach Games later this year.
For more information please contact:
Olympic Federation of Ireland Communications Manager
+353 87 337 1954
About the EYOF
The EYOF is a multi-sport event aimed at athletes aged 14-18 years of age, that is held every two years and is run by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) under the patronage of the IOC. Originally known as the European Youth Olympic Days, the event has been running since 1993, with the summer edition occurring since 1991.
The events will be streamed by the EOC on https://eoctv.org/live/ and as well as the Team Ireland channels, and daily releases, the event social media handles are:
Twitter with hashtag: #EYOF2023
Photography will be available FOC via Sportsfile, photographer Eóin Noonan.
Wicklow born Eábha McKenna moved with her family from Clara Vale, Rathdrum to Switzerland in 2011. She currently lives in a small town of Beckenried, near Lucerne, competing for local ski club, Ski Club Beckenried Klewenalp (SCBK). The sixteen-year-old began competing as an under-10 athlete and has been working with the Snowsports Association of Ireland throughout her youth career.
United States-based Ethan Bouchard attends Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, which is close to his home mountain, Sunday River. The seventeen-year-old began skiing as a three-year-old and has been competing for the past nine years. Bouchard joins a rich history of Team Ireland athletes with links to West Cork, with a large family of cousins living in Skibbereen. Before moving to the US, both his great-grandparents lived in Bantry and Skibbereen.