Ireland and skiing are definitely not synonymous with one another, but there are two people working hard on changing that, Patrick McMillan and Tess Arbez.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that the Winter Olympics is taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea right now. And you might be surprised to know that there are five Irish athletes there to represent us.

Ireland’s alpine skiers Patrick McMillan and Tess Arbez both made their Winter Olympic debuts yesterday morning and they made the country proud. Patrick is only the second Irishman to ever take part in the Olympic Downhill and Tess is only the seventh Irishwoman to compete in a Winter Olympics.

Patrick McMillan (26), from Ogonelloe, Co Clare finished 52nd on the downhill course in a time of one minute and 49.98 seconds. That’s just nine seconds slower than the new Olympic champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.

Patrick told the Independent, “Today I achieved one of my top goals in life, to ski in an Olympic Downhill and finish it and make a lot of people proud. I’m sure everyone at home enjoyed it. My mom and father will be very happy.

“When you put your mind to it you can do anything. Five years ago I said I wanted to become a skier and then go to the Olympics and now I’ve achieved that goal. You should never give up.”

Meanwhile, Tess Arbez (20) finished 50th overall in the Olympic Giant Slalom. She completed her first run in 1:22.12 seconds allowing her a second run in which she seriously upped her game. Tess crossed the line in 1:18.12 seconds to finish in the top 50.

Just this morning Thomas Westgaard beat his world ranking to end up in 63rd place in the 15km Cross Country Skiing. He finished the course in a time of 37:35.6, just under four minutes off gold medallist Dario Cologna.

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By Orla O'Muiri

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