Golding 15th At Skate Helena

Elizabeth Golding has started 2022 with a 15th place finish in the Junior Women’s event at Skate Helena in Belgrade, Serbia.

Golding began the competition with the short programme. She attempted a triple toe loop-double toe loop combination, a double flip and a double Axel in her routine to “Hip Hip Chin Chin” by Club Des Belugas. She also performed a Level 4 change foot combination spin and received positive grade of execution for a Level 2 step sequence. She scored 31.73 points which put her in 18th place overnight.

The 2019 Irish Junior National champion was up again in the free skating the following day. Skating to “One Eye Open” by Lola Blanc, she opened with double flip-double toe loop combination and a triple Salchow attempts. Later on in the programme, she also went for a double Axel. Two of her spins were graded Level 4 and she earned a free score of 60.31 giving a total of 92.04 which moved her up to 15th place overall.

“I know I could have done a lot better,” Golding said. “My scores were low only because of some stupid mistakes I made, but it feels great to be back to competing after being injured. I loved every minute I spent on the ice.”

Stakelum Skates To Top 30 Finish At Euros

In his fourth appearance at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Conor Stakelum (28) has finished 30th in the men’s short programme which concluded earlier today in Tallinn, Estonia. Although he did not advance to the free skating on Friday, this is his highest placement ever at the event.

Skating to “Soulseeker” by Thomas Bergersen, Stakelum began his routine with a triple Salchow and followed that with a triple toe loop-triple toe loop jump combination and a double Axel. He also earned a Level 4 for a flying sit spin and six out of seven of the elements he performed received positive grades of execution from the judging panel. He was awarded a new ISU personal best score of 56.00 points.

The Dubliner was a last-minute replacement for Sam McAllister who had to withdraw from Europeans last Friday due to a positive Covid-19 test result. Stakelum had three days notice that he would be travelling to Estonia as a substitute.

“On Friday afternoon, I came out of work and I had so many notifications on my phone,” Stakelum said. “I wondered what I had done!”

Stakelum currently works in the NHS in Scotland and plans to keep competing after this season.

“I am going to stick around for another year competing because we lost a year to Covid. In Dundee, I am able to skate around my career and I still enjoy it.”

Unexpected Fourth Euros Appearance Beckons For Stakelum

Conor Stakelum (28) participates in his fourth ISU European Figure Skating Championships which begins tomorrow in Tallinn Estonia.

Stakelum was a last-minute substitute for Sam McAllister who was originally selected to represent Ireland in the men’s event at the Tondiraba Ice Hall but had to withdraw after a positive Covid-19 test result last Friday (7 January).

The Dubliner will be in the first group of skaters to take to the ice tomorrow morning (12 January) in the men’s short programme which starts at 10:05 Irish time. The top 24 athletes after the short will proceed to the free skating on Friday (14 January).

“It’s nice to be back at Europeans even if it was a bit of a surprise and a bit of a whirlwind to see if I could get here,” Stakelum said. “This time last week I didn’t even know I was going so it’s kind of a bonus.”

You can follow Stakelum’s progress live on Eurosport or the ISU’s YouTube channel and on social media via the #EuroFigure and #UpAgain hashtags.


McAllister Withdraws From Europeans

Sam McAllister (23) has withdrawn from the men’s event at next week’s ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia (10-16 January) due to a positive pre-departure Covid-19 PCR test.

McAllister had also been selected for the 2021 Europeans in Zagreb, Croatia which were subsequently cancelled due to the pandemic.

“I am completely devastated that my second Europeans has been stopped in its tracks due to the Covid-19 pandemic – first being cancelled and second being unable to travel after contracting the virus two days before I fly,” McAllister said.

“I will come back from this fighting harder and will aim for the World Championships now. A huge thank you to everyone that has been kind to take time out of their busy day to wish me well. I appreciate you all and good luck to Conor in Tallinn.”

McAllister will be replaced by substitute Conor Stakelum who will be competing at his fourth Europeans.

“I feel very bad for Sam, as no one wants to be unable to compete,” Stakelum said. “I wish him a speedy recovery.

“It is not how I expected it to happen, but I am excited to go to Europeans nonetheless.”

Despite Adversity Irish Ice Skating Forged Ahead In 2021

The pandemic continued to disrupt activities in 2021 both on and off the ice, but Irish ice skating has also displayed its resilience throughout the past 12 months.

In January, it was announced that unfortunately the Irish National Figure Skating Championships would not take place in 2021. At the end of the month, Liam O’Brien made his debut in an Irish racing suit at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland where he placed 25th overall. This was the highest ever placement for an Irish short track speed skater at an ISU Championships.

O’Brien raced again at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in March in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. His overall championship classification of 29th was the highest placement ever by an Irish skater in the history of the event and also secured two spots for Ireland in the men’s category at the 2022 Championships.

In May, O’Brien was also the recipient of an Olympic Federation of Ireland Beijing 2022 Individual Performance Support award.

Eight figure skaters and six speed skaters were named to the National Team in July.

After the cancellation of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in 2020, Dillon Judge and Sophia Tkacheva were finally able to make their debuts in the series back in September in Kosice, Slovakia. Towards the end of the month, Conor Stakelum participated in the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, the final qualifying competition for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where he finished 29th. An EGM and an AGM were both held virtually during the month.

Judge return to the Junior Grand Prix circuit in October where he was joined by Elizabeth Golding to compete in the final stage of the series in Linz, Austria. In the middle of the month, Sam McAllister returned to the ice for the first time in over a year and finished 11th at the Budapest Trophy in Hungary. Sean McAnuff and Liam O’Brien got to try out Olympic ice at the test event in Beijing, China which was the first of four World Cup competition to decide quota places for the Games. The Irish short track speed skaters travelled to Nagoya, Japan the following week for the second World Cup.

November began with a team of five Irish figure skaters competing at the Tayside Trophy in Dundee, Scotland. Robyn Foster made her international debut for Ireland in the Junior Women’s category where she finished seventh with Tkacheva in tenth. Judge was second in the Junior Men’s event with Stakelum and McAllister tenth and eleventh respectively in the Senior Men’s division. O’Brien was back racing in the third World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary and was joined for the fourth in Dordrecht, the Netherlands by Ryan McAnuff. At the end of the month, it was announced that sadly the Emerald Skate learn to skate courses would be postponed for a second consecutive year.

McAllister, Stakelum and Judge rounded out the year at the Santa Claus Cup in Budapest, Hungary in December. The announcement of the selection of McAllister to represent Ireland at the 2022 ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia early next year was also made during the month.

While the pandemic is still an ongoing concern as we head into the New Year and the health and safety of our members remains our priority, the ISAI is hopeful that 2022 will see a resumption of our normal activities.


McAllister Selected For 2022 Europeans

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has selected Sam McAllister (23) to represent Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2022 in Tallinn, Estonia (10-16 January).

McAllister will compete in the men’s singles category at the Tondiraba Ice Hall alongside the cream of European skating talent. To qualify for the championships, each competitor had to obtain a set of minimum technical scores at International Skating Union (ISU) international competitions during previous and/or current seasons.

This is the first time the Ballymoney, County Antrim athlete will make an appearance at the European Championships. He was also selected for the 2021 European Championships, but the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He will become only the third Irish skater to ever participate in the prestigious championships which were first held in 1891.

“I am super excited to head to Europeans,” McAllister said. “I just want to go and enjoy my first experience and skate well for myself.”

Irish Figure Skaters Wrap Up 2021 At Santa Claus Cup

Three Irish skaters competed this week at the Santa Claus Cup in Budapest, Hungary.

Sam McAllister (23) and Conor Stakelum (28) took part in the Senior Men’s event. McAllister drew first to skate in the short programme where he opened with a triple flip and went for a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. He also included a double Axel and two Level 4 spins in his routine to score 54.16 points for sixth place after the short. Stakelum skated third and began with a triple loop and a triple toe loop-double toe loop combination. He also landed a double Axel and two of his spins were awarded Level 3 by the technical panel. He scored 50.22 points to sit in eighth position overnight.

Stakelum was the first of the two Irish skaters to appear in the free skating the following day. He started with a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination and went on to land three more triple jumps in his routine. He closed out his performance with a Level 4 change foot combination spin to earn 101.78 points and seventh place in the free to give himself a total score of 152 points. McAllister was on the ice shortly afterwards and commenced his programme with a triple Lutz and a double Axel. He attempted three more triples and executed two Level 4 spins. He scored 99.03 points for eighth place in the free with his total of 153.19 putting him in seventh overall just ahead of Stakelum in eighth.

“This was my third competition of the season and, after a week off with injury, I am proud of how I skated,” McAllister said. “I will keep training hard for my next competition.”

“Although the outcome may not be what I was hoping for, I enjoyed every second of my free programme today,” Stakelum said. “Having struggled a lot with nerves since coming back this season after the long break, I can only thank my wonderful coaches for helping me to get back on track.”

Dillon Judge (17) participated in the Junior Men’s event. In the short, he attempted a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination and double Axel to start and later on in his programme he opted for a double flip. He received a score of 38.55 points which was close to his lifetime best and he stood in 11th place at the first segment of the event.

Judge returned to the ice the following day for the free. As with the short, he began with a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination and a double Axel. Later on he attempted a solo triple Salchow and another double Axel and was given a Level 3 for a flying sit spin. He posted a score of 70.23 points for the free and 108.78 points for his competition total which were both new career bests. He finished in 11th place overall.

“I am feeling really good and my competition fitness is back,” Judge said. “My routines went well and I achieved my highest combined score. After all the time off ice, things appear to be going in the right direction. I want to build on this performance and give better consistent performances.”

McAnuff and O’Brien Wrap Up At Final Short Track World Cup

Ryan McAnuff and Liam O’Brien brought this season’s World Cup odyssey for Ireland’s short track speed skaters across two continents and four events to a close at this weekend’s competition in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Day One (25 November) began with the 1500m heats. McAnuff lined up in Heat 2 where he finished 6th in a time of 2:22.991. He was ranked 71st for the distance at this World Cup. There was plenty of drama in Heat 10 where there was a restart after a crash involving a number of skaters and in the rerun O’Brien was infringed upon by another athlete and promoted to third with a time 2:29.875. For the quarterfinals, O’Brien was drawn in Heat 4 where he came in 6th in a time of 2:17.135.

The 500m preliminaries were on the agenda for the afternoon of Day One and McAnuff raced in Heat 5 where he posted a time of 44.136 coming in fifth for a distance ranking of 76th. O’Brien rounded out the first day for Team Ireland by ending up third in a time of 43.128 in Heat 15. He was ranked 51st in the distance at this World Cup.

The Irish skaters were back on ice for Day Two (26 November) where they contested the 1000m preliminaries. Heat 12 saw McAnuff race to a fifth place finish in a time of 1:28.916 and placed 73rd for the distance. O’Brien crossed the line in Heat 15 with a time of 1:29.370 and was advanced to the next round. He finished fifth in Heat 5 of the 1000m heats in a time of 1:27.993.

O’Brien returned on Day Three (27 November) for the 1500m ranking finals. He raced in Heat 5 where he recorded a time of 2:17.322 for fifth place and five World Cup points. He was ranked in 40th place for the distance in Dordrecht.

O’Brien took to the ice for the last time on Day Four (28 November) for the 1000m ranking finals where he skated in Heat 2. He finished third in a time of 1:31.880 and placed 33rd for the distance which gave him 12 World Cup points and an overall classification of 57th.

“I’m really happy and thankful to be back racing this week,” McAnuff said. “Racing the top athletes in the world and competing at another international event and Olympic qualifier has been a great experience. I enjoyed myself and was proud of my performance. Balancing my final year of medical school and training is difficult, but worth it.”

“It’s been a long two months of racing between the Asian and European World Cups,” O’Brien said. “I am happy with my performance at my first World Cup series competing for Ireland and I hope to build on this base. This week I am happy that I was able to better my 1000m performance from the previous World Cups, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The final World Cup classification for the Irish short track speed skaters is as follows:

Ryan McAnuff – 500m (98th), 1000m (102nd), 1500m (101st)

Sean McAnuff – 500m (93rd), 1000m (99th), 1500m (86th)

Liam O’Brien – 500m (66th), 1000m (57th), 1500m (43rd)

The four World Cups served as qualifying events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The Special Olympic Qualification Classification quotas will be allocated by 13 December 2021. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.


McAnuff and O’Brien Set For Final World Cup

Ryan McAnuff (27) and Liam O’Brien (23) line up this weekend at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Dordrecht, Netherlands (25-28 November), the final stage of four qualifying events for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Both McAnuff and O’Brien will be racing from tomorrow (25 November) inside the Optisport SportBoulevard. First up will be the 1500m heats and quarterfinals which will be followed later in the day by 500m preliminaries and heats. On Friday (26 November) the 1000m preliminaries and heats will take place. Subsequent rounds and finals will be held on Saturday (27 November) and Sunday (28 November).

For both skaters, the goal again will be to progress as far as they can in each distance to accumulate ranking points. There are 32 Olympic quota places in the 500m and 1000m distances and 36 in the 1500m on offer. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.

This will be McAnuff’s season debut. After the first three World Cup events, the current World Cup Classification for O’Brien in each distance is as follows:

500m (60th), 1000m (69th), 1500m (42nd)

“I’m really excited to be back skating, especially here in the Netherlands,” McAnuff said. “I hope to make Ireland proud!”

“I was really pleased with how I raced last weekend in Hungary,” O’Brien said. “I am hoping to repeat that performance this weekend in the Netherlands.”

The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating will be streamed live on the ISU Skating YouTube channel. The event can also be followed on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

Schedule (Irish time)

25 November

09:21 1500m Heats
11:46 1500m Quarterfinals
14:04 500m Preliminaries
15:34 500m Heats

26 November

10:56 1000m Preliminaries
13:04 1000m Heats

27 November

09:31 1500m Ranking Finals
10:12 500m Ranking Finals
12:33 1500m Semifinals
13:26 1500m Finals
14:15 500m Quarterfinals
14:53 500m Semifinals
15:30 500m Finals

28 November

09:27 1000m Ranking Finals
12:37 1000m Quarterfinals
13:18 1000m Semifinals
13:58 1000m Finals

Postponement of 2021 Learn To Skate Programmes

In a normal year, the Ice Skating Association of Ireland would be offering Learn to Skate programmes, but it is with great disappointment that we have to announce the postponement of our programmes for the 2021 season.

Having spent considerable time planning and consulting with all stakeholders involved in the administration and delivery of the Learn to Skate programmes, we have concluded that it is not possible to safely offer the programmes without unnecessary risk to our skaters and volunteers. In addition, the lack of rinks opening for the 2021 season has been another obstacle to delivering the programmes.

We will continue to monitor the ever-changing Covid-19 situation, Irish Government and Sport Ireland guidance and hope that we can, as soon as possible, get you back on ice.