Olympic Competitor Name
November 18, 2006 6:39 PM   Subscribe

In the 2002 Winter Olympics, there was a female figure skater or ice dancer with a Celtic/Irish name. Her name had a traditional spelling and the announcers were constantly stumbling over the pronunciation.

Can the Hive help me remember what her name is?

(It might have been the 1998 games, but I'm really thinking it was 2002.)
posted by TauLepton to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do any of the names on this or this list ring a bell?
posted by cerebus19 at 7:21 PM on November 18, 2006

Laetitia Hubert? I dunno if it's Gaelic, but it's Irish. (She's French.)
posted by rokusan at 7:35 PM on November 18, 2006

Long-shot: Jaime Sale?
posted by ewiar at 7:41 PM on November 18, 2006

Anabelle Langlois?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:18 PM on November 18, 2006

Here's a chart of the Final standings in figure skating 2002. None of those names look right to me, but maybe they will to you?

Some possibilities:
Beata Handra, a US pairs skater?
Jacinthe LaRiviere, a Canadian pairs skater?
Tanith Belbin, a 2006 US pairs skater?

Siobhan (sha-bonn) is a common Irish name that Americans have a hard time pronouncing - could that be it?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:58 PM on November 18, 2006

By the way, how did I miss Michael Flatley's nuptials ... to a woman??!!
posted by rob511 at 9:17 PM on November 18, 2006

I think Siobhan is (shih-Vawn) - LanguageHat, please help with the proper way to note pronounciation!

My own Gaelic name is pronounced leas-leah.
posted by Liosliath at 9:49 PM on November 18, 2006

Some Americans with the name Siobhan have a semi-Americanized pronunciation as in LobsterMitten's example. Others get it right. ;)

I don't see any Irish/Celtic names (at least, notably so and hard to pronounce) in either the 2002 or 1998 games. Are you sure it was the Olympics?

(Hubert isn't a Celtic name in origin, though I don't doubt that there are Irish people that bear that surname. It comes from a Germanic name, originally. As do quite a few French names. Oddly, most of the names people have suggested here are French.)

Could it have been US Nationals, not the Olympics? Perhaps Ann Patrice McDonough (who is of Korean ancestry, but has a surname that is Irish, though I don't recall how it was pronounced)?
posted by litlnemo at 12:41 AM on November 19, 2006

Litlnemo, I didn't suggest that Hubert was Irish. I'm suggesting that Laetitia might be.

I thought it was obvious from context. Maybe not. :)
posted by rokusan at 3:59 AM on November 19, 2006

Now I'm certain it was the 2002 Olympics. We had just moved into our new house the spring prior & I wrote her name on one of the moving boxes we were attacking. :-)

None of the names so far ring a bell, but the lists that I searched in vain for are certainly helpful!

Off to search through them again.
posted by TauLepton at 5:59 AM on November 19, 2006

I looked on all of these lists too and see no irish names there, except maybe Bourne but that's not hard to pronounce. Laetitia certainly isn't considered an Irish name.

(Siobhan is pronounced Shi-Vawn with a sort of dragged out aw sound at home, but like Caitlin might have become a different animal in the US?)
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:50 PM on November 19, 2006

Could be that I've been mis-hearing Siobhan's middle sound as B when it's really being said V. Those sounds are easy to confuse. Shuh-vonn, sha-vonn, shi-vonn, all could represent the way I've heard it pronounced in the US. (But not shah-vonn, or shy-vonn.)

How's Caitlin pronounced in Ireland?

Also note that the surname doesn't have to be Irish; she could have an Irish mom and a Russian dad for all we know. Or just a name that sounds Irish but really isn't.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:58 PM on November 19, 2006

Any Caitlins I know of in Ireland are pronounced Kathleen, or Cait (Kawtch) for short. Beware those "bh"s as gaeilge - the sound is sort of a "v". A lot of "mh"s too. So any names like Aoibheann, Caoimhe, Ailbhe, Niamh are Ee-van, Cwee-va, Al-va, Nee-av. At home. I know they end up different over here.

And yeah, some of those Russian names could maybe sound Irish if the pronunciation was butchered?
posted by jamesonandwater at 2:06 PM on November 19, 2006

Wow - I'm learning a lot more from this thread than OP is, sadly. :)

Let us know if you figure it out, Tau!
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:18 PM on November 19, 2006

Ack, somehow I was assuming this was an Irish surname... I guess the question didn't state that, and it could be an Irish given name. Mea culpa. I don't see any given names that match the requirements in the 2002 and 1998 skater lists, though (or 1994, which I also checked).
posted by litlnemo at 2:24 PM on November 19, 2006

rob511: From what I've heard from people who toured with him, Michael Flatley is very very straight.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:02 AM on November 20, 2006

Yes, it's Shi-vawn, never Shi-bonn! I do notice that people who have been introduced to me will suddenly start calling me "Shi-bonn" once they've seen my name spelled out. However, I've never met a Siobhan who preferred that pronunciation (I live in the US).
posted by Siobhan at 8:46 AM on November 20, 2006

I have known at least one. :/
posted by litlnemo at 5:15 PM on November 20, 2006

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