This time last year my sister Eibhlin and I returned from the trip of a lifetime. My son, Sean Greenwood represented Ireland in Skeleton, in the the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The previous three years were spent watching Sean work so hard trying to materialize this crazy dream. When he qualified for the Olympics, there was nothing for it but to go there to support him. The trip to Sochi was a roller coaster of emotions, Eibhlin and I were either laughing or crying, terrified or delirious. Sean crashed at 125kms on his second race, my heart literally stopped and my hair turned from green to grey! I can still feel the pain in my chest and remember how time seemed to stop. How he managed to hang onto that sled, climb back on and finish the race alive is still beyond me! Ten minutes later we were led 'back stage' to see him, there he was lying on a stretcher, fighting back the tears of disappointment and rage, all those years of struggle, stress and effort to end in a crash. He was devastated. I am still so grateful to the Irish support team and the Russian Doctors and medics that took care of him, carried out scans and kept him under surveillance to make sure he was right in the head...... don't get me started, such a crazy sport!
The next day Sean, uninjured (unbelievable) although he knew he had no chance at qualifying, was determined to do the third run. It was very emotional and he got a standing ovation from the crowd. A few weeks later, back in Vancouver he showed me a present he received from a Russian Olympic volunteer, it was a small set of Russian dolls and inside was a note that said, 'Sean, you are the bravest one!' An unforgettable journey Sean, we are so proud of you.
This drawing sums up my impressions of Sean's sport, the eyes are wild and exaggerated in their focus and concentration. I know they look scary and that, in truth is my own fear, not his as he feels really alive when he is on his sled. I have sent this drawing to it's new home out in Alberta with Sean's cousin where I hope it won't keep the children wake at night!