Seamus O'Connor Competes in Halfpipe Contest - NBC 7 San Diego
Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Seamus O'Connor Competes in Halfpipe Contest

Seamus O'Connor, 16, will compete for a medal in halfpipe in Sochi Tuesday

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    Seamus O'Connor Competes in Halfpipe Contest
    NBC 7 News
    O'Connor met up with NBC 7 outside Athletes Village in Sochi, Russia.

    San Diego's Olympic gold medalist Shaun White is viewed as the favorite entering the halfpipe event Tuesday as he goes for his third straight Olympic gold.

    Special Section: Sochi 2014

    However, there's another San Diegan to watch. Sixteen-year-old Seamus O’Connor is also competing in this event.

    In Sochi he’s one of just a few snowboarders in the world good enough to compete in both slopestyle where he was the youngest competitor and halfpipe.

    "I was really anxious, I was shaking,” O’Connor said about the slopestyle competition. “All I wanted to do was go and snowboard and like that was definitely a lot more different to other contests."

    O'Connor made the finals in slopestyle and ended up finishing 19th. One thing he’s very proud of from his performance was his first-ever triple cork.

    O’Connor met up with NBC 7 just outside the Athlete’s Village. With green shoes and clothes, O'Connor is showing his Irish roots.

    Shaun White Excited, Antsy for Halfpipe Finals

    [AP] Shaun White Excited, Antsy for Halfpipe Finals
    Snowboarder Shaun White says he's excited but also a little antsy for Tuesday's halfpipe finals. He recorded a message to fans ahead of his big day at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014)

    “Everyone hangs out, trades pins, that’s a big thing. Trading pins is huge here," O’Connor said.

    The Ramona teenager has discovered his Irish pin is a hot commodity as is his talent, evident from an early age at Big Bear.

    Read: Ramona Teenage Competes Among Snowboarding Elite

    His favorite part of the Sochi experience so far has been Opening Ceremony. "It was something special,” he said. “I'm never gonna forget that."

    But make no mistake this teenager is All-American and raised in Ramona.

    "I want to say to all my teachers back in Ramona, you guys are amazing and the support from Ramona has just been phenomenal. As well as all my friends down in San Diego,” he said adding in a hello to his girlfriend, Brittney.

    "So everyone back home, even people I haven't talked to in years, has been writing on my wall, messaging me, calling me, getting Skype messages, good luck videos, cards, it's been amazing," he said.

    His parents now live in Point Loma and when they're not traveling with him around the world they welcome him home for about 4 months a year.

    "I do surf, but to be honest I have a little bit of phobia of sharks in the ocean, I'm more used to the frozen water," O’Connor said.

    A local teenager with a license to shred - even if he still hasn't passed his drivers test.