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Dunmore will be cheering on Ireland’s Olympic skier

Wednesday, 7th February, 2018 2:20pm
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Dunmore will be cheering on Ireland’s Olympic skier

Thomas Westgaard

Dunmore will be cheering on Ireland’s Olympic skier

Thomas Westgaard

By Cliona Foley

IT is over 30 years since Celia Maloney left Dunmore to start a new life in Norway.

That, itself, was a huge adventure but never did the North Galway woman imagine that it would one day take her all the way to PyeongChang in South Korea to wave the tricolour for her son.
That's where she is headed now as her son Thomas Westgaard (22) is competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics (Feb 9-24) and the only cross-country skier in Ireland's five-athlete team.
In Norway cross-country skiing is akin to the GAA. It is the nation's sporting religion at local and national level and the Norwegians are the best at it in the world.
That makes it ultra-competitive and, growing up on a tiny island with a shorter snow season and very few competitions, left Thomas at a disadvantage.
Yet he has become good enough to make the world's top 500 and will represent Ireland in four different cross-country events in PyeongChang.
The odds of her son becoming a Winter Olympian were almost as long as a farmer's daughter from Kiltevna settling in the land of the Midnight Sun.
Celia met her husband Ove (pronunced Uuvay) “many moons ago on a holiday in the Canaries!

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