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Silver, Silver and a whole lot of Green, White and Gold

To compete in the Olympics is a huge achievement in my book. I dreamed of competing in the Olympics myself and while I never made it, the Olympics brings an emotion that I seldom experience with any other sporting event. The Olympics still holds that ultimate standard most elite athletes want to achieve.

I think anyone interested in sport remembers their first childhood Olympic memory. I have a vague recollection of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 but my most vivid Olympic memory was at 14 years of age staying up late into the night and cheering John Treacy on to Olympic silver in the Marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. While he didn’t inspire me to get out running he did give me that great sense of being Irish and although Ireland is a small nation anything is possible.

I have been lucky over the last year to have met some of the athletes who went to Rio and I am always inspired by athletes who dedicate their lives to their sport. In today’s world it takes a professional life for most to achieve that goal.

It has been an eventful Olympics from an Irish point of view. With the negatives of Michael O’Reilly testing positive for a banned substance, the arrest of Pat Hickey, the many questions to be asked of the IABA and the AIBA, it still has been a very positive Olympics for Team Ireland.

Annalise Murphy winning silver and pushing the demons of London away, the O’Donovan brothers lifting a nation with their silver medal, finals, PBs, historic moments…for Team Ireland it was a success.


Fionnuala Britton 20th 2:31:22

Lizzie Lee 57th 2:39:57

Briege Connolly 76th 2:44:41

Sara Treacy Heat 3 12th 9:46.24, final 17th 9:52.70

Kerry O’Flaherty Heat 1 14th 9:45.35

Michelle Finn Heat 2 11th 9:49.45

1500m Ciara Mageean Heat 2nd 4:11.51; semi-final 11th 4:08.07

Ciara Everard Heat 8th 2:07.91


Tori Pena Group B 14th 4.3m

Chloe Magee, Group P

Katie Taylor Quarter Finals

Shannon McCurley, 4th in Repechage

Judy Reynolds, Dressage Final 18th

Clare Abbott, Team Eventing 8th

Gymnastics Ellis O’Reilly, first Irish female gymnast to compete in the Olympics

Leona Maguire 21st, Stephanie Meadow 31st

Natalya Coyle 7th

Sanita Puspure, Quarter Finals, Wins C Final

Sinead Lynch, Claire Lambe 6th in LW2 Final

Sailing Saskia Tidey, Andrea Brewster 12th in the 49er class

Fiona Doyle 100m Breaststroke, Heat 21st 1:07:58, 200m Breaststroke Heat 25th 2:29:76

Aileen Reid 21st in Triathlon Final

There are some who will be disappointed with their outcome in Rio. The disappointment of not achieving for an elite athlete is almost like a death. While many would say “it is only sport”, for that athlete who has made huge sacrifices, spent every waking moment training for that Olympic moment and when in their books it is not achieved it is immensely disappointing.

While the Irish public demands high standards we must remember that Ireland punches above it’s weight. We have a population of 4.6 million and while resources are getting better for the elite athlete we often compete from behind the curve. There is an opportunity for the powers that be like government and Sport Ireland to invest more in the minority sports such as Badminton and Modern Pentathlon and invest early when athletes are upcoming and need the investment most.

There will be many athletes returning to Ireland, some thinking this is the end of the line, some thinking I can do better next time and others thinking this is only the beginning. Whatever the case any athlete who has competed in the Olympics is part of the chosen few, 0.0001% of the world’s population.

There are Irish children who will have watched the Olympics in Rio and will have been inspired by our great athletes and know that an Irish athlete can compete on the world stage with great pride and with success.

So to those who feel this is it, hold your heads high and know that you couldn’t have given anymore, you did your very best, if you have done this there is no room for regret. To those who are only beginning their Olympic journey or in the middle of it, I wish you luck. The achievement of those 10,000 hours you have spent on your sport, reaching that goal of competing in the Olympics and being the best you could have been is something that can never be taken away from you.

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