Shane O'Connor (skier)
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|— Alpine skier —|
|Club||Ski Club of Ireland|
November 15, 1973 |
Dublin, Republic of Ireland
|Height||1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|World Cup debut||February, 1993 (age 18)|
|Retired||February, 2010 (age 36)|
|Teams||1 - (2010)|
|Teams||5 - (1993)(2003)(2005)(2007)(2009)|
Shane O’Connor is an ex-alpine ski racer who represented Ireland in five World Championships and one Winter Olympic Games. Shane was born in Dublin in 1973 and began his skiing career at the age of five having been introduced to snowsports through his parents and a family holiday to Austria. Shane quickly developed a love for the sport and became a regular at the Ski Club of Ireland kinder garden before graduating, aged 7 to the children’s race training program. Regular training at the Ski Club of Ireland was interspersed with annual trips abroad to ski in Europe and by his early teens Shane had become one of the foremost Irish children racers regularly competing on the UK dry ski slope circuit and in regional snow races across France’s ski resorts.
At age 18 Shane was selected as a member of the very first Irish team to compete at the 1993 World Alpine Ski Championship in Morioka, Japan. Two years later Shane was again selected as part of the Irish team this time to compete in the 1995 World Alpine Ski Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Unfortunately, these championships were postponed to 1996 due to a lack of snow. In the same year, Shane played with the Dublin U21 team competing against Wexford in the Leinster championship and it was during this time that he developed a recurring problem with his knee which resulted in him missing the World Championships in 1996 and culminated in a number of years away from competition ski racing.
In late 1997 Shane was advised to retire from both Ski Racing and Hurling due to extensive wear on the knee joint. Thankfully after close to three years exploring different treatment options Shane managed to return to both sports and in 2003, 10 years after first representing Ireland at a World Championships, he was selected to represent Ireland at the World Alpine Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Shane competed in an additional three World Alpine Ski Championships – Bormio (Italy) in 2005, Are (Sweden) in 2007 and Val d’Isere (France) in 2009.
Shane always had the dream of representing Ireland at a Winter Olympic Games and for many years skirted around Olympic qualification but just couldn’t turn his dream into a reality. It was at the 2007 World Championships that a US coach, partnered with Ireland, finally put Shane on the road to securing his dream and it was at the 2009 World Championships that Shane secured the first of his qualifying results. This was followed quickly with additional qualifying results before the end of the 2009 season cementing Shane’s selection for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.
On 27th February 2010, Shane finally realised his dream and pushed out of the start gate in the Slalom at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games finishing a credible 45th from a field of 102 racers.