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Trio of Speed Skaters for 2022/2023 Irish Team

Three speed skaters have been selected to represent Ireland in international competitions for the 2022/2023 season.

Ryan McAnuff has been listed to the National Team for the seventh consecutive season. During the past season while training and competing, he also graduated from medical school at the University of Limerick.

“I am very excited to once again be named to the Irish National Short Track Speed Skating Team,” Ryan McAnuff said. “This off-season has allowed me to reset mentally and physically, while still training very hard. I will proudly represent Ireland this season with a major goal being to continue to close the gap between myself and the top skaters in world. Another goal of mine is to work on my race tactics and try new track patterns and strategies during practice and racing.”

Like his brother Ryan, Sean McAnuff is on the National Team again for the seventh time in a row. He placed 35th at the 2022 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada. Since December 2020, he has been training in Budapest, Hungary.

“I have really enjoyed an extended rest for my body since the World Championships this past April,” Sean McAnuff said. “I am looking forward to getting back to training and continuing to develop my technique, endurance and confidence in racing. I will strive to make a positive impact on the athletes and other I connect with in the sport world, encouraging them along their journey. I have really enjoyed this aspect of skating over the past few years, as I notice that is a huge motivational component for so many speed skaters!”

Liam O’Brien has been selected for the National Team for the fourth time. Earlier this year, he finished 37th at the 2022 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland and just missed out an 2022 Beijing Olympic quota spot in the 1500 metres. He currently trains in Seongnam, Republic of Korea.

“Last season unfortunately did not go as planned and I had to deal with many ups and downs with injuries and with COVID,” O’Brien said. “In the coming season I hope to be challenging the top skaters in all events and pushing into the main round at World Cup and Championship events.”

National Team Members (Short Track Speed Skating):

Senior Men – Ryan McAnuff (County Antrim/County Derry/County Fermanagh), Sean McAnuff (County Antrim/County Derry/County Fermanagh), Liam O’Brien (County Cavan/County Leitrim/County Mayo)

You can learn more about our national team members here.

Irish Winter Sports Strategy Launch

On 12 April, the Irish Winter Sports National Governing Bodies, including the Ice Skating Association of Ireland, together with the Olympic Federation of Ireland launched the Irish Winter Sports Strategy. This is a significant strategy which aims to overhaul and energise the winter sports environment in Ireland, and calls for a strategic approach to be taken in supporting and developing Winter Olympians, winter athletes and winter sports in Ireland.

With four main pillars, the mission of the strategy is to amplify the voice of winter sports in Ireland to achieve a shared vision of long-term sustainability and success, and to achieve equality of support for high performance winter athletes.

The pillars are as follows:

  1. Facility Development – the strategy calls for the development of a permanent ice facility in Ireland, a project which has a track record globally of being commercially viable, would be achievable through private funding at little or no cost to the tax payer provided government and local authorities can assist in securing land.
  2. Athlete Carding, Participation and Talent Development – the strategy calls for state funding support through the Sport Ireland high performance carding scheme for Winter Olympic athletes. Similar to their summer counterparts, the commitment of Winter Olympians is significant both from a financial and emotional perspective. State support would significantly assist the winter athletes when the majority of their peers nationally and internationally have some of their costs funded by the State.
  3. Visibility – the aim is to enhance the relevance and voice of winter sports in Ireland, and will be supported by commercial and marketing plans.
  4. Governance – A commitment to good governance and actions to establish a pathway towards compliance with the governance code of sport for any organisations where it is not yet in place.

Speaking at the official launch, President of the OFI, Sarah Keane said,

“The Olympic Games, winter, or summer is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. For an athlete to represent their country on this stage is a huge honour. We call for equality within the sporting sector for our Winter Olympians to have access to the carding scheme and support in the same way as other high performance athletes do.

“We need to understand that winter sports athletes and federations need our support. Sustainable success doesn’t happen by chance, it doesn’t happen without support. We have high performing athletes across our sports, if we want to bring sport to the next level, if we want more than six athletes competing at the Olympic games, and if we want medals, we need to support our sports. We were very grateful for Minister Chambers on behalf of the government and representatives of the Federation of Irish Sport and Sport Ireland to meet with us and the winter federations and athletes to discuss this strategy and how we can bring it forward.”

CEO for the OFI, Peter Sherrard, added,

“The winter sports federations have put in a significant amount of work to establish a clear framework for improvement and success over the next four year period. The OFI is committed to supporting the journey with €50,000 funding to help the Federations fulfil the actions that it contains. Ahead of us, we have a very exciting project which has the potential to transform participation opportunities, while ensuring that the winter sports federations, by working together, are better recognised and supported, along with their athletes who represent us on the Winter Olympic stage.”

At the launch, Minister Jack Chambers met with the athletes and member federations to discuss the strategy and how the winter sport agenda can be advanced.

The full Irish Winter Sports Strategy can be viewed here.

McAnuff 35th; O’Brien 37th at Short Track Worlds

Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (23) have concluded their seasons at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada where they finish 35th and 37th respectively in the overall classification. This was the first time Ireland fielded two skaters in the same category at an ISU World Championships.

Racing began for the two Irish men with the opening day qualifying rounds. First up were the 1500 metres quarterfinals. O’Brien came fourth in Heat 4 in a time of 2:22.931. while McAnuff was fifth with a time of 2:24.441 in Heat 6.

Next up were the 500 metres preliminaries. McAnuff raced in Heat 8 where he came fourth in 42.475 and was followed by O’Brien in Heat 9 who also ended up fourth in a time of 43.549.

The final distance on the opening day were the 1000 metres preliminaries. Unfortunately, O’Brien picked up a penalty in Heat 5. McAnuff wound up fourth in Heat 8 (1:27.595).

The Irish skaters lined up for two ranking finals on Day Two. McAnuff appeared in Heat 2 of the 1500 metres and finished sixth in a closely fought race in 2:26.229. O’Brien was next on the track in Heat 3 and took fourth in 2:29.668. O’Brien finished 25th and McAnuff 34th overall in the distance.

For the 500 metres preliminaries ranking finals, McAnuff and O’Brien were both drawn in Heat 2. Although O’Brien received a penalty, McAnuff had his best finish of the championships by placing second in a time of 43.243. McAnuff ranked 35th and O’Brien 37th for the distance.

The last day of the championships saw just McAnuff in action in the 1000 metres preliminaries ranking finals. He came third in Heat 3 with a time of 1:32.192 and was classified 31st for the distance. O’Brien ranked 44th.

“I think this has been the most successful weekend of my skating career thus far,” McAnuff said. “I was able to accomplish each goal I set, as well as reconnect and enjoy the company of fellow skaters that I have met over the years. It was refreshing, yet inspiring to finish off this Olympic season back in Canada at Maurice Richard. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have raced this weekend, but I am certainly looking forward to the season of rest ahead!”

“The competition didn’t go as planned after receiving penalties in both the 500 and 1000 metres,” O’Brien said. “However, it was great to have crowds back at racing and have an atmosphere in the ice rink. I’m glad that this season has come to an end as it was full of ups and downs and time for some much needed rest.”

 

McAnuff and O’Brien On Track For Historic Worlds

This weekend Ireland’s Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (23) close out their season at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada which had originally been scheduled for last month. This marks the first time that the Ice Skating Association of Ireland fields two athletes in the same category at an ISU World Championships.

McAnuff and O’Brien will be among over 119 skaters from 27 countries participating in the annual event. They will first race on Friday (8 April) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.

McAnuff will be racing for the first time since his season was interrupted in November last year with a bout of Covid-19 causing him to miss out on the final two Olympic qualifying World Cups. He previously competed at Worlds back in 2019.

“With the difficulties of Covid in the prior season, and the postponement of the World Championships this season, many of us have had to sacrifice other areas of our personal lives to try and avoid compromising our skating goals,” McAnuff said. “Now that the end of the season is here, I really want to bring a fun and light hearted atmosphere to this competition, while bringing joy to the sport we all started because of our love for it! One goal for me is encouraging this kind of environment. I think it is important to remember we can’t all take home a gold medal, but we can all take away an experience that fosters our passion for the sport rather than an experience that burns us out.”

By placing 29th at last year’s Worlds, O’Brien qualified two spots for Ireland this time round in the men’s event in Montreal. He continued his good form this season at the World Cups last autumn and agonisingly missed out on securing a quota spot at the Beijing Olympics in the 1500 metres by just one place.

“I am looking forward to getting out there and racing at the weekend for the first time since the World Cups back in November,” O’Brien said. “I hope to improve on last season’s World Championships results and my performance at this season’s World Cup series.”

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online in Ireland on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required) and the ISU YouTube channel. McAnuff and O’Brien will start their campaigns inside the Maurice Richard Arena tomorrow afternoon (8 April) Irish time.

The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #WorldShortTrack and #ShortTrackSkating hashtags.

Sean McAnuff: Man On A Mission For Short Track Worlds

Sean McAnuff (24) lines up later this week at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships (8-10 April) in Montreal, Canada three years on from his first participation in the event. In the meantime, the Irish speed skater has graduated from university, gotten married and moved overseas to a new training base all in the midst of the difficulties involved competing at an elite level during a global pandemic.

Following his graduation from Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, Quebec) and marriage to Jess, the newlyweds moved from Canada to Budapest, Hungary to train with the Hungarian national team in December 2020. In recent years, Hungary has been a powerhouse nation in short track speed skating with stars such as brothers Shaolin Sándor Liu and Shaoang Liu winning European, World and Olympic medals. After competing alongside and getting to know his Hungarian counterparts over a number of seasons, the opportunity to attend a training camp in July 2020 presented itself.

“I’d never been to Budapest before and it was actually the two hottest weeks they had that year, but the training was really good,” McAnuff recalled. “Immediately, the athletes and the coaches took me in as one of their own and they were just very generous. Even though they all speak Hungarian, obviously, the coaches are very international. There’s a Chinese coach and a Korean coach, so English is the main language spoken for training which made it easier as well.”

Covid-19 inevitably delayed McAnuff’s move to Hungary, but after several months and quarantining over Christmas 2020 he began training full-time in Budapest in January 2021 with his eyes on the target of qualifying a spot for Ireland at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Last summer his focus was on preparing for the four ISU World Cups Olympic qualifying events in autumn 2021.

“Everything went pretty well honestly,” he said. “The equipment, my endurance and my technique – I felt improvements overall.”

The first two World Cups were held in Beijing, China and Nagoya, Japan. McAnuff raced well and even set a new personal best in the 1500 metres, but he found that his fellow athletes had also raised the bar during the off-season.

“The competition was very high,” he said. “I looked around and I realised how much everyone else trained. It wasn’t a shock. I didn’t expect to be getting a gold medal out there, but it was very clear that everyone really worked hard coming into this Olympic season. It was a tough competition and overall I was pleased with my placement and my strategy. There were things I got to learn and work on, but also some little successes too.”

However, on his return to Europe to prepare for the final two World Cups in Debrecen, Hungary and Dordrecht, Netherlands, he tested positive for Covid-19.

“I didn’t really have symptoms when I got the positive tests, but the next day it hit me,” he said. “I was out of training for five weeks. All of November into the first week of December, I was off.

“In those five weeks, I missed the third and fourth Olympic qualifiers in Europe. I was really looking forward to them and it was really difficult to not be able to compete. I felt like I worked for the last four years and then Covid hit me and I couldn’t test negative.

“I think I could have gone to race, but I don’t know how I would have performed physically after the illness. That was really hard mentally. I had to come back and focus on why I’m skating. The Olympics is a goal, but I really do treasure building the community in the sport.”

McAnuff has also connected with the Irish community in Hungary and the Irish Ambassador to Hungary, His Excellency Mr. Ronan Gargan, has even come to watch one of his training sessions.

“The morning of the practice, I was notified he was coming to watch and he wanted to see me skate and meet me,” McAnuff said “That was really cool.

“There’s a lot of Irish restaurants, which is awesome. I can always go and feel like I’m sitting on the streets of Dublin in a little bar or restaurant. There’s some some great musicians we go watch. There is actually a solid Irish community here and, funnily enough, my wife and I live near the Veterinary University and there are hundreds of Irish students studying right here on on the campus.”

McAnuff and his wife are also full-time missionaries and through their church they have been involved in outreach programmes and voluntary activities. Recently, they have been actively supporting refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine which shares a border with Hungary.

“This organisation that we volunteer with is called Youth With A Mission and their base in Budapest is connected with one in Kyiv. They would message us and tell us they have a family coming over arriving at the border at a certain time and ask us if we can go pick them up. We would get a rental car and drive to the border. It’s about three hours to three and a half hours away. We’ve done that multiple times. Sometimes you don’t even have their phone numbers, so we just have their name on a sign.

“We pick refugees up and bring them back to the city. Then we would put them up either in a hotel or even in our apartment. We have a spare bed, so we would house them, or if they already had a destination, we figured out how to get them there.

“Aside from the the border runs, the other thing we would do would be grocery shopping for refugees. People in Canada, and actually internationally, who we’re raising funds with, are sending us money to help these refugees.

“We just get to help these refugees going through a ridiculously hard time. Most of them come with just a backpack. They need sweaters. They need socks. They need shoes.

“Just how thankful they are, the tears in their eyes, the smiles on their face, and the hugs they give – you don’t even need to speak the language. They’re just so thankful that people here are helping.

“The organisation we’re volunteering with actually have vehicles going into Ukraine. I’ll be going on some runs into Ukraine once I get back from Worlds. It sounds very intense, but obviously we take the proper safety precautions and security.”

Being born and growing up in Canada, McAnuff is looking forward to going back to Montreal to race in a venue with which he is very familiar.

“It is very exciting and I’ve raced in the Maurice Richard Arena a dozen times over my lifetime, because it’s a quick drive from Ontario, where I grew up,” McAnuff said. “It’s kind of nostalgic to be back in that rink. The last time I was there was for the World Championships in 2018, at the end of the Olympic season. My brother Ryan was the one competing as we only had one spot. I was there as an alternate. Looking back now, it’s four years later and the same situation at the end of the Olympic season, but this time it’s me representing Ireland. I would say it’s a little extra special just to be there representing Ireland so close to where I was born and grew up as well. I will get to see some familiar faces and reunite.”

McAnuff will compete with teammate Liam O’Brien and it will be the first time that Ireland will have two entries in the same category at an ISU World Championships.

“I’m very excited to have Liam there as well,” McAnuff said. “We only got to really train together for those first two Olympic qualifiers, but it was fun to get to know each other more. Just having a teammate there is also nice. You can talk about your races and just decompress a little too.”

The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships begin this Friday, 8 April 2022 with the qualification rounds. Follow the ISAI social media accounts for updates from Montreal!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

O’Brien Keeps Olympic Dream Alive With Best World Cup Showing

Liam O’Brien marked his 23rd birthday by competing at the third ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Debrecen, Hungary over this weekend and posted his best result of the series so far to edge him closer to possible qualification  for the 2022 Beijing Olympics next February.

On Day One of racing, O’Brien opened with the 1500m where he was drawn in Heat 14. He finished third in a time of 2:24.899 to advance to the quarterfinals later in the day. He raced in Heat 7 and came fourth with a time of 2:18.941 to move forward to the ranking finals.

O’Brien rounded out his first day of competition in Heat 14 of the 500m preliminaries where he ended up 5th in 43.614. He was classified as 71st overall at this World Cup.

For Day Two, O’Brien had just the 1000m preliminaries to contend with and he raced in Heat 9 where he skated to fourth place in a time of 1:30.732. He finished in 62nd place overall for the distance in Debrecen.

O’Brien’s final race was the 1500m ranking finals on Day Three for which he was assigned to Heat 3. He came home 5th in a time of 2:31.317 to garner 38 World Cup points for his 26th placement in the distance.

After the first three World Cups, the current World Cup classification for O’Brien in each distance is as follows:

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

O’Brien’s exploits in Hungary put him in with a real shot of nabbing one of the 36 quota places available for the 1500m distance at the Beijing Olympics with just the final qualifying World Cup to be held next weekend (24-28 November) in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

“I am slowly building on the performances from the first two World Cups,” O’Brien said. “I am happy with my skate in the 1500m and hopefully next week I can repeat similar results.”