In recent weeks we have seen many fine performances by young Irish athletes in many sports and today comes news of two young sisters, Gloria and Giorgia Lyons who have been selected to represent Ireland in the forthcoming International ski season in Europe and beyond.
The girls are also eligible for selection by Austria but happily have opted to represent Ireland. Their Dad, Gavin, comes from Mount Merrion in ‘Dublin’s fair city’ whilst Mum Elizabeth is Austrian, based in Ramsau, a noted ski resort in the district of Liezen, state of Styria. Gavin’s sisters still live there with their families whilst his parents live in Killiney and Wicklow.
So what should Irish ski fans know about the Lyons girls? Let’s take a look at who they are what they’ve achieved so far.
Last year, they competed with the Irish children’s team at the Trofeu Borrufa in Andorra, achieving quite good results. Hence, the ambitions are high for the coming seasons. While Gloria will be competing in the U 21 junior category, Giorgia will race another year in the U 16 children’s age category.
Both girls moved with their parents from Bormio/Italy to their mother’s home village of Ramsau am Dachstein in 2004, building their love for Ireland with regular trips to their second home.
Skiing has always been a part of their lives with their first ski lessons at the age of three in Kindergarten – pretty much standard in the Austrian Alps. And from the beginning their path to ski racing was clear.
Gloria and Giorgia started training with their local ski club, WSV Ramsau am Dachstein, when they started primary school. As part of the Ramsau ski club team, they entered their first regional competitions, participating in the U8 to U16 categories of the Bezirkscup and achieved good results.
In September 2016, Gloria took part in the Irish Dry Slope Championships for the first time, and in 2017, Giorgia joined her in this adventure. Skiing in Ireland and getting to know their fellow Irish skiers made them even more eager to represent Ireland. The girls were selected for the Irish team in 2018’s international races. Starting in the Trofeu Borrufa in Andorra in January 2018, Gloria made it to the prestigious competitions in Abetone, Italy, Pinocchio sugli Sci, in March 2018.
WSV Ramsau, the local ski club, is one of Styria’s largest winter sports club. In recent years, the ski club achieved great results in alpine and Nordic skiing.
Thanks to its professional training of young athletes, WSV Ramsau is currently Styria’s most successful alpine skiing club. There Roland Bair is coach for ski and race technique, co-ordination whilst
Hans-Peter Steiner is ski club coach for race technique also so they have expert tuition.
Naturally, they are members of Snowsports Association of Ireland which as Irish skiers will be well aware was formed in 1971 to promote the development of national skiing.
More and more people get into skiing in Ireland, and the Snowsports Association is motivated to encourage ambitious Irish athletes to compete in international major events.
Funding, of course, is a major ‘headache’ for any young Irish skiers. In the case of the Lyons sisters, Gloria and Giorgia have no sponsors yet. However, currently, they are about to start looking for partners and sponsors in Ireland as well as in Austria. So an ideal opportunity for Irish companies, big and small, North or South, to help sponsor two budding young stars of the future and promote your own organisation in the process.
The Lyons girls meanwhile will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of those who represented Ireland in PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 including Séamus O’Connor competing in his second Winter Olympic Games, Cork-born Brendan “Bubba” Newby, Pat McMillan, teenager Tess Arbez and Thomas Westgard,
In a forthcoming feature, we will be interviewing the girls and Mum, Elizabeth, who will bring us up to date on any new sponsors who may have come onboard. Good Luck to the girls in the weeks, months and years ahead.