Bray People - - News - Mary FOG­A­RTY

CHAM­PION skier Lor­raine Whe­lan from Del­gany ar­rived at Dublin air­port on Mon­day morn­ing hold­ing high two gold medals and one sil­ver - which she scooped last week at the 2009 Spe­cial Olympics World Win­ter Games in Idaho.

There were emo­tional scenes and a hero’s wel­come for the Ir­ish Alpine Ski­ing team as their plane touched down. ‘Ole Ole Ole,’ Ire­land’s adopted victory song, was bel­lowed with gusto in ar­rivals to the de­light of hun­dreds of on­look­ers. ‘There was a huge turnout,’ said one woman who wit­nessed the tri­umphant ar­rival. ‘It was very emo­tional – there were shiv­ers down my spine.’

There were none prouder at 28-yearold Lor­raine’s Olympic achieve­ments than her thrilled par­ents Bren­dan and Marie who ac­com­pa­nied her to Idaho. ‘We’re very proud. She’s a good girl,’ said Bren­dan. ‘She is a very de­ter­mined per­son and she worked hard. He de­scribed a gru­elling but en­joy­able two weeks for the ath­letes and coaches alike. Lor­raine won gold in the ‘Gi­ant Slalom,’ and ‘Su­per-G Slalom,’ as well as sil­ver in the Slalom event. Her brother David and sis­ter Fiona ea­gerly awaited Bren­dan’s daily up­dates by email as their sis­ter rep­re­sented her coun­try.

‘It’s al­ways emo­tional,’ said Bren­dan, on watch­ing his daugh­ter win medal af­ter medal, ‘par­tic­u­larly at the award cer­e­monies. She went out there to do her best.’ This was Lor­raine’s third World Win­ter Games, hav­ing com­peted in Na­gan

no in Ja­pan in 2005, and Alaska in 2001. She took one gold and a bronze in Ja­pan. She won a sil­ver and two bronze in Alaska. ‘She has never failed to win a medal,’ said Bren­dan.

Lor­raine has a mild learn­ing dif­fi­culty. She works in the op­er­a­tions cen­tre of Bank of Ire­land in Cabin­teely and has a very full sched­ule of ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.

As well as be­ing a mem­ber of the Kil­ter­nan Karvers Spe­cial Olympics Ski Club, she has joined the Blue Dol­phins Spe­cial Olympics Club and is a keen swim­mer.

More re­cently, she took up Ir­ish danc­ing at the age of 26 and has al­ready passed her grade 1 ex­ams, even en­ter­tain­ing the peo­ple of Idaho by join­ing in the danc­ing at a night out at­tended by the Mayor Dave Bi­eter.

The cer­e­mony was at the Boise City Hall on Tues­day of last week and a high­light of the trip for the ath­letes and their fam­i­lies. ‘As much as you think we’ve done for you... you’ve en­riched us so much with your cul­ture in a way we rarely get to see in Boise,’ said the Mayor.

Lor­raine is also an ac­com­plished horse­woman and once worked for the Fes­tine Lente Eques­trian Cen­tre in Bray.

Lor­raine with her par­ents Marie and Bren­dan, cel­e­brat­ing af­ter winning a gold medal in the In­ter­me­di­ate Grade Gi­ant Slalom Event.

Lor­raine arriving back in Dublin air­port on Mon­day morn­ing.

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