Award lauds Sonia O’Sullivan’s role in Irish Olympic effort

O’Sullivan was honoured with the accolade of Outstanding Contribution to the Olympic Movement in Ireland at the inaugural Olympic Council of Ireland Awards last night.

The 5,000m silver medal-winner at the Sydney Games was recognised not just for her achievements on the running track, but for work behind the scenes, including her stint as Chef de Mission for the London Games.

Cork rowing brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan, along with coach Dominic Casey, received a ‘Spirit of Rio Award’ for their exploits at the 2016 games.

“Not only did they win an Olympic silver medal in Rio, they captured the imagination of the Irish people with their attitude to sport, to competition and to the community from which they came,” organisers said.

Mr Casey was recognised “as a cornerstone in driving these values in not just the O’Donovan brothers but also in the whole of the Skibbereen Rowing Club”.

The brothers did not attend the ceremony in Dublin as they were down south preparing to compete in the Cork Regatta at the National Rowing Centre.

The O’Donovans, who have just returned from Poznan, Poland, where they won silver in the World Cup II, race each other in the Men’s Division 1 single sculls today, and then come together to take on the rest of Ireland in the Men’s Division 1 double sculls tomorrow.

Gary and Paul were looking forward to meeting old rowing friends and rivals.

“There is a great buzz around the rowing centre,” said Gary. “All our friends are here and it is nice to catch up with them at regattas. It is also great that the domestic racing calendar fits in neatly at the moment with what we are doing abroad.”

The night also saw Ronnie Delany honoured as the first inductee into Ireland’s Olympic Hall of Fame, in recognition of his gold medal win in the 1,500m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.


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