Skeleton Racing | Patrick’s Olympic Dream
Patrick (PJ) O'Brien
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Thanks for taking the time to have a look at my profile. You’re probably wondering what skeleton racing is!
Skeleton racing is a sport where athletes slide head first down an ice track at speeds of up to 140kph and experience pressures up to 5G.
It’s a truly exhilarating sport and one that makes you feel completely alive, and the best part? There are no brakes!
Tracks are technical and fast and really test an athlete, who has to be calm under pressure and to make split second decisions. Any sort of error can end up being costly and when things go wrong, they go really badly wrong, so it is important to be physically strong, as well as mentally!
Here’s some info about me:
I’m 25 years old and I come from Callan, a small town outside of Kilkenny City in the South East of Ireland.
Before starting skeleton racing, I was an Aussie Rules football player and GAA Handball player, in which I had a significant amount of success, winning a European Championship as a footballer and a number of All-Ireland Intervarsity titles as a handball player. I loved, and still do love, playing both sports.
However, ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with speed and with doing things that would have my mother covering her eyes.
As a toddler, I would zip around the hallways of our house in my walker, tipping it up onto its side trying to get around the house as fast as I could. I think then my family knew I was a little bit mental!
Growing up, I was always going to motorbike races with my dad and his friends, so I was always exposed to speed and danger, which I suppose is the reason that I feel this burning need to go fast and to push my limits. I eventually found skeleton racing which has helped me to satisfy my need to go fast and push my limits!
My skeleton racing experience started shortly after the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games when I was in contact with Irish Olympian Sean Greenwood, who was seeking interested athletes to try out and be a part of the future of Team Ireland.
After lots of training and advice from Sean, I set off to Calgary in October of 2014 to take part in a skeleton racing training school, which would teach me the fundamentals of the sport and what I needed to do to improve.
It was an intense experience but it was awesome! The rush, the adrenaline that was pumping throughout my body, the feeling of the air passing around my helmet as I slid head first down the Calgary Olympic Park track was something that had me hooked.
This sport was for me and here I am today, still sliding head first as fast as I can, but with new goals and a big dream…..