Though it’s tempting to fall back on old clichés and suggest that slopestyle competitor John Brown is relying on the luck of the Irish in his quest for World Cup podiums, that would simply be wrong. Luck has nothing to do with Brown’s success.
The 24-year-old Brown has worked his tail off, overcoming serious injury and bitter disappointment — narrowly missing the 2018 Winter Olympics — to become one of the best slopestyle and big-air skiers in the world. Born in Gloucester, Mass., just before Christmas in 1994, Brown holds dual citizenship in Ireland and the United States, since his mother, Josephine, is a native of County Cork, Ireland. Actually, three of Brown’s four grandparents are Irish.
As a result of his lineage, Brown is eligible to ski for Team Ireland, where he benefits from the Olympic “quota” system that limits the number of slopestyle competitors to four per country. That means Brown, Ireland’s top slopestyle skier, can leap-frog higher-ranked skiers from countries such as the United States, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway who don’t make their national teams.
“It’s the top 30 from around the world, capped four from each country,” said the Kulkea-sponsored athlete. “The U.S. team is so hard to get onto for the Olympics. There’s about 10 or 11 people that are like me, but only four of the U.S. skiers will be able to go.”