| Date of Birth:
January 3, 1974
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, MB
Residence: Calgary, AB
Years on National Team:
Weight: 160 lbs.
Making his third and most likely final appearance at the Winter Olympics is Winnipeg's Mike Ireland, who is not just thrilled to be back at the Olympic Games, but also happy to be alive.
In September of 2004, while mountain biking in California, Ireland suffered a near fatal concussion that kept him out of competition for nearly a year. Upon returning to the ice in September of 2005, he suffered yet another setback when he injured his groin. But he has battled back mightily and was a last-minute addition to the national team headed for Turin.
Ireland first made his Olympic debut in 1994 at the Lillehammer games, where he finished in 26th-place in the 500m race. With the high quality of Canadian speed skaters in 1998, Ireland didn't make it to Nagano, but he never gave up. He continued racing on the World Cup circuit and in 2001 won a gold medal at the World Sprint Championships. At the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, he made it back to the Olympic ice with very strong seventh and 14th-place finishes in the 500m and 1000m races, respectively.
If Ireland can stay healthy, he could surprise a few folks with some good races in Turin, completing a very compelling comeback.
February 14: Seventh a victory for Ireland
February 12: Ireland's eyes smiling
February 11: Ireland likes being underdog
2006 Longtrackskating Coverage