Sure, Point Loma can claim Seamus O’Connor – he lives there. But the 16 year competed for Ireland on his snowboard at the Winter Olympics.
- He just competed at an Olympics,
- He was the youngest entrant in slopestyle, the second youngest in halfpipe.
- He wore lime green ski pants. His parents held up a hand-written “Go Seamus” sign and waved Irish flags.
- He reached the semifinals in both events.
- He was born in Poway.
- His father grew up in England.
- His mother is from Siberia.
O’Connor was amazing; he almost landed a frontside 1260 on the last jump pass in the semifinal run but then he spun out at the bottom of the halfpipe. He had been fourth after the first semifinal run but hit ninth at the end, losing out in doing anything like advancing. Only 6 could advance.
He told the media:
“That was originally my goal, to make it to the semifinals. I got in there, and then once I was there I was kind of wanting more. I guess I can’t be too upset.”
“I couldn’t really ask for anything else. It’s more than I expected, absolutely. I didn’t really understand the weight the Olympics carry. I was told that but I never really understood it until I got here.
“My Facebook and Instagram have been blowing up. I’ve been taking so many photos and (signing) autographs. It’s been amazing.”
O’Connor represented Ireland as did 4 other athletes – none of them actually from Emerald Isle. For future Olympics, it’s possible he could stay with Ireland, but he could also be an athlete from Great Britain, Russia or the United States. He said:
“Right now, I’m not even really thinking about different nationalities. Right now, the future is totally open-ended.”
His dad, Kevin O’Connor also chimed in:
“It’s a win-win situation. I think the Irish will benefit from raising awareness of winter sports and attracting funding and inspiring kids. It’s better than them sitting at home playing bloody Nintendo.
“Seamus is a good-looking kid, he’s articulate, he’s mature. And he acquitted himself well. I think he’s done a great job for the Irish.”
The older O’Connor runs a Ramona brain injury rehabilitation center.
On what country his son represents in the future, dad said:
“Me personally, I hope he stays with Ireland the rest of his life. But that’s up to Seamus to decide. I just wanted to give him this opportunity, because no matter how good he would have been, he would not have been here. America was 10 deep, and only four of them could come.
“His mom is from Russia and her parents are from 100 kilometers up the road, and I just thought it was a wonderful, synergistic story for an American kid to ride for Ireland in the home of his mother’s forbearers.”
Source: U-T San Diego