02/04/2014 22:25 EST | Updated 04/06/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C.'s Sean Greenwood racing skeleton on Irish Olympic team

A Vancouver-born Olympic skeleton racer is heading to Sochi, Russia, to compete for Ireland in this year's Winter Olympic Games, and his Irish mother could not be more thrilled.

SibealFoyle's 26-year-old son, Sean Greenwood, started racing skeleton five years ago.

He didn't qualify for Canada's skeleton team this time around, so the dual-citizen will instead join Ireland's five-person team at the Olympics.

"When he saw one of the Irish guys, Patrick Shannon, was going to retire, he just thought, 'Maybe I am good enough to apply for that,' and that would be his ticket to the Olympics. And he did and eventually they accepted," explained Foyle.

Ireland has never won a medal in the Winter Olympics, and Greenwood is going into the Games as an underdog: He currently ranks 29th in the world. But Foyle says the fact that her son is competing is "unbelievable."

"It's very emotional for me because of the connection with Ireland and everything. So it's been quite a journey and it's been phenomenal to see the change in him."

New to skeleton racing

Greenwood took his first plunge down the track five years ago, and has been hooked ever since.

"Somehow you get through all the twists and turns and you get to the bottom and you have never been so alive in your life," said Greenwood.

"You have to keep doing it over and over again."

Similar to bobsledders and lugers, skeleton racers ride small sleds at high speeds down long icy tracks. But unlike the other two sports, skeleton racers do it head first.

Greenwood says it has been difficult for his mother to watch him race.

"One of my runners hit the concrete and sends sparks basically right in the same corner she is standing in, and she almost has a nervous breakdown."

Even so, Foyle is heading to Sochi with her sister this week so they can cheer for her son at the finish line.

"My mother has knitted us hats in the shape of the Irish flag," she said.

"Oh yeah, we're going to be loud. There's going to be two of us only, but we're going to be very loud."

Click on the video above to watch more of Sean Greenwood's road to the Winter Olympic Games.