Olympic controversies: Headlines for all wrong reasons

IF there was an Olympic medal for controversy, Ireland would have gained three golds already. We are certainly punching above our weight when it comes to garnering world headlines at the Rio Games — mostly for the wrong reasons.
Olympic controversies: Headlines for all wrong reasons

Along with the arrest of Irishman Kevin James Mallon on the day of the Olympic opening ceremony, there was the banning of boxer Michael O’Reilly, Michael Conlan’s controversial exit from the boxing ring amid allegations of corruption by judges, followed sensationally yesterday by the arrest of Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland and head of the European Olympic Committees.

He has also been on the International Olympic Committee’s executive board since 2012 which means he is one of the most powerful people in the Olympic movement.

Mr Hickey is suspected of being involved in a scheme to sell tickets for higher than their face value but it may take some time before those allegations are sustained or otherwise.

The pity of it is that all of this controversy takes away from the genuine achievements of Ireland’s Olympians and is an unnecessary distraction from what up to now was the world’s finest sporting festival.

While the names of Hickey and Mallon may be uppermost in people’s minds, we should not forget the real achievers for Ireland, namely rowers Gary and Paul O’Donovan, and sailor Annalise Murphy, all silver medalists.

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