O’Rourke: Olympics are the gaping hole in my CV

DERVAL O’ROURKE won’t be bidding to cash in her silver medal for gold at next year’s European championships in Helsinki which come just a matter of weeks ahead of the Olympic Games in London.

She has a gold medal from the world indoor championships which may be overshadowed by her back to back European silver medals in terms of achievement but she has some unfinished business at the Olympic Games which will be top of the agenda.

“I have done so well at the European championships but I would never jeopardise the Olympics — the Olympics is a big, gaping hole in my athletics resumé,” she said.

“It is somewhere I have not come out of happy yet.

“This is the last chance saloon in terms of the Olympics but I don’t have an issue with that. I always said London was where I would finish my Olympics. I won’t retire at London but if I run the way I want to run in London there will be no need for me to do any more.

“I am slightly different from other people in that I put absolutely everything into one event every summer — literally every part of me — and I just don’t know if I’d be mentally and physically recovered enough within four weeks to do that at the Olympics and if I put everything into the Europeans. For me the Olympics is the priority and I don’t think it [Europeans] fits in.”

She was among a number of hopefuls who attended a reception yesterday to announce ESB Electric Ireland as an official sponsor of Team Ireland for the London 2012 Olympics and reflected on what might have happened in Daegu if she had not injured herself while warming up before her semi-final of the 100m hurdles.

“We do a thing where I run at 70%, 80% and 90% over hurdles and I couldn’t run at 90% — the top of my calf was just so tight that I felt if I went any quicker it would just explode” she said.

“I wanted to do another run flat out but Sean Cahill said ‘you can’t run 90%’. I could have got the doctor to inject it to numb it but then I wouldn’t have felt it if I did something to it so Sean did not want me to take that chance 10 months out from the Olympics.”

If Derval wants to claim centre stage in London next year she may have to fend off the challenge posed by her boyfriend, Cork sailor Peter O’Leary. Upbeat after finishing fourth in the recent Olympic test event over the 2012 course — they had a big win last year — himself and veteran Olympian, David Burrows, are quietly eyeing a podium position.

“We were fourth in the pre Olympics which is a massive event because they used it as a build-up for the actual Olympic event and we had all the competitors there,” he said.

“From our point of view it’s great to be there knocking on the door when we still have a full year to improve on the things we need to improve on. Conditions are exactly the same as if we were sailing in Cork with similar tides and winds compared to the difficulties we encountered in China. From that point of view there is no difference for us really and that’s a massive advantage we can use. We can just jump on a plane and be there in an hour.”

The Irish Sports Council is funding their new boat which is being built in Michigan and they will travel there at the end of January to fit it out before racing it for the first time in Miami at the end of February.

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