ETHAN Bouchard is a name to keep an eye on, says Team Ireland Chef de Mission for the European Youth Olympic Festival, Nancy Chillingworth.
The Rhode Island teen (17) qualified to represent Ireland at the winter games through his family connections to West Cork; his great grandparents hailed from Skibbereen and Bantry.
Ethan kickstarted his Olympic journey in north-eastern Italy with the boys slalom event where he finished 74th overall after two runs. In his second event, the giant slalom, he fell just short, with a crash in the final gates of the second run, after a decent first run. ‘It's a mixture of everything out there. You have a lot of speed coming down through the gates to a surface that isn’t very stable. That combined with how tired my legs were towards the end, made it exceedingly difficult to keep it upright,’ explained Ethan, who kept the best until last to finish the games on a high.
In his final event, the Boys’ Super G on Monte Lussari, just outside Tarvisio, he finished just 3:18 outside the winning time, and in 35th place overall with 1:06.93.
‘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,’ Chillingworth explained.
The European Youth Olympic Festival 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.