Double World and European rowing champion Sanita Pušpure has won the latest Cork Person of the Year award, while legendary broadcaster Mike Murphy has been made an “honorary Corkman”.
Sanita, 39, who was born in Latvia but now lives in Ballincollig, is considered a favourite to take a gold medal in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
She is also a past winner of the Irish Times/Sport Ireland’s Sportswoman of the Year award.
Sanita came to Ireland from Latvia in 2006 and became an Irish citizen in 2011.
She has been a member of Irish rowing teams for many years and trains at the National Rowing Centre at Farran Woods in Cork.
This year's winner was announced online because Covid-19 restrictions prevented the organisers from holding their annual gala dinner, which would normally be attended by more than 300 guests.
It was also announced that Mike Murphy had been made an “honorary Corkman”, following in the footsteps of the likes of David Puttnam and Jeremy Irons.
Awards organiser Manus O'Callaghan said it was fitting to honour Mr Murphy for the years of entertainment he had provided to Irish people.
He described Murphy as a broadcaster, businessman, and expert in the arts, be it literature, music, or the visual arts.
“He won four Jacobs Awards for, , , and on radio," said Mr O'Callaghan. "In fact, was the most popular programme on Irish radio during its run.”
Both winners were congratulated by Taoiseach Micheál Martin who, as Lord Mayor of Cork, launched the first Cork Person of the Year award scheme with Manus in 1993.
“At the time Manus spoke about coming from an Ireland of 'spare the rod and spoil the child', and instead he wanted to move to a country of 'find the good and praise',”. said Mr Martin.
"Over the last 27 years, this award scheme has certainly done that.”
“It has been my great pleasure to continue my involvement with these awards over the years, and indeed I was due to speak at the awards lunch again this January, until its unavoidable cancellation due to Covid-19.
"All of them people who are valued for what they contribute and have succeeded in achieving in society, whether in arts and culture, charity and volunteerism, enterprise, or sport, to name a few.
“In particular, I wish to congratulate the 2020 winner.
"She is a worthy winner of this award, and I wish her continued success.”
He said he also wished to thank the organisers and sponsors of "this excellent awards initiative".
Cork Lord Mayor Joe Kavanagh and Mayor of Cork County Mary Linehan-Foley both sent their congratulations and wished the single sculls rowing champion every success in the year ahead.
Sanita was picked for the title by award judges, Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey and Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty.