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The winter Olympics is being held in Russia this year. Photo by: Wiki

Meet Team Ireland at the Sochi Winter Olympics

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The winter Olympics is being held in Russia this year. Photo by: Wiki

Ireland has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics, but this year there are high hopes for the team competing in Russia. The mostly likely Irish medal contenders are snowboarder Seamus O' Connor and skeleton competitor Sean Green.

Here at IrishCentral we wish the Irish team the best of luck. Now lets meet team Ireland.

1: Seamus O' Connor
As one of the most exciting young talents in the snowboarding world, this 16-year-old is perhaps Ireland's strongest winter sports competitor. Seamus hails from San Diego, but has strong Irish roots – his grandparents come from Drogheda and Dublin. He started snowboarding at just four years of age and he was snapped up by Nike three years ago.

He is one of the youngest competitors at this year's Games. The full time professional snowboarder will also have time to catch up with his mother's family, who live in the Sochi region.

The youngster made headlines this week when he publicly voiced his concerns over the safety of the slopestyle course at the Rosa Khutor extreme park.

When?
Slopestyle qualification: 6am - Thursday 6 February
Halfpipe qualification: 10am - Tuesday 11 February


2: Sean Greenwood
This young Irish Canadian ranks 29th in the world and took his first plunge down the tracks just five years ago. When he didn't qualify for Canada's skeleton team the dual citizien joined the Irish team. He comes into the team as an underdog, however his Irish mother, Sibeal Foyle, couldn't be happier.

"When he saw one of the Irish guys, Patrick Shannon, was going to retire, he just thought, 'Maybe I am good enough to apply for that,' and that would be his ticket to the Olympics. And he did and eventually they accepted," explained Foyle. 

When? Skeleton qualification: 12.30pm - Friday 14 February

3: Florence Bell

Bell will compete in both the slalom and giant slalom events, two disciplines that Irish teammate Conor Lyne will also be taking part in at the Games. The alpine ski racer is happy to be representing Ireland.

"The highlight of the 2012/2013 season was definately representing Ireland at the European youth olympics in Romania." Originally born in Birmingham, England to a Northern Ireland family, she represented Ireland at the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in Austria in 2012. 

When? Giant Slalom: 7am - Tuesday 18 February
Slalom: 12.45pm - Friday 21 February

4: Conor Lane

Ireland's youthful winter team also has high hopes for alpine skiier Conor Lyne. He will compete in the slalom and giant slalom events. "Ever since I started skiing competively as a teenager it has been my dream to represent Ireland at the winter olympics," he said in a recent interview. He lives in Utah and he will carry the Irish flag at the opening cermony.

The 21-year-old added, "when you come from a small country, some people say why send them, but you have got to start off somewhere and who knows in a couple of games we could be looking at medals."

His parents come from Kerry and Limerick and in recent interviews a distinct Munster accent is noticeable despite the fact he has been living in America for years. He also acknowledged how hard the Jamican bobsleigh team had worked and called them a great example of a team that started out low and kept improving.

When?
Giant Slalom: 7am - Wednesday 19 February
Slalom: 12.45pm - Saturday 22 February

5:Jan Rossiter
Jan was born in Cork to an Irish father and a Czech mother. The family then moved to Kingston, Ontario. The Irishman's sking accomplishments include being named MVP of the McGill Nordic Ski team. He has in the past worked as an instructor in cross country skiing, canoeing and backpacking. He will compete in cross county skiing's 15km race on St Valentine's Day.

When?
Cross Country Skiing 15km Race: 10am - Friday 14 February

Here is Jan with the rest of the Irish team

To read more about the Winter Olympics, check this out http://www.irishcentral.com/sports/usa/Irish-competitors-to-watch-in-the-2014-Sochi-Winter-Olympics.html

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