Mixing medical studies with world championship wins the perfect balancing act for Paul O'Donovan 

Speaking on the back of his world championship gold - which he won alongside fellow Olympic hero Fintan McCarthy - O'Donovan said he finds pleasure in getting away from the books to hop into the boat, and vice versa. 
Mixing medical studies with world championship wins the perfect balancing act for Paul O'Donovan 

BALANCING ACT: National Dairy Council Ambassador Paul O'Donovan is currently in his final year in UCC, and is still finding time to be at his best in the boat.

The prospect of balancing college studies with a sporting hobby is a pretty tough one at the best of times. 

Balancing the hectic schedule of studying medicine with being a world-class athlete is a different feat altogether, but it's a double act that Olympic champion Paul O'Donovan is juggling with minimal fuss, it seems.

Speaking on the back of last weekend's world championship gold - which he won alongside fellow Olympic hero Fintan McCarthy - O'Donovan said he finds pleasure in getting away from the books to hop into the boat, and vice versa. 

There wasn't much time for celebrations as the 28-year-old was back in UCC on Monday, but the routine is something he is used to by now, and one he quite enjoys. 

"I've been back at school now since Monday, working away. This is my final year, hopefully. I want to make sure it's my last so I'll be keeping the head down with the study and make sure I pass the exams at the end of the year. 

"I'll do some training as well!" adds O'Donovan.

"I think the two complement each other quite well. From rowing quite hard at a young age, you build up a good work ethic and then you learn to apply that to studying."

The Lisheen native said that the work ethic and consistency that's needed in rowing have lent themselves well to his studies.

"Rowing is about being consistent all year round, you can't do nothing all year and then cram in a load of training two weeks before a big regatta and hope to perform well. 

"There's a lot [to be learned] in this course, so I think I've tackled it like I do the rowing, trying to be consistent with my studies. 

"It's nice to be able to go training every day then, it gives you a bit of a break and wakes you up a bit to power into more study."

CHAMPIONS, ONCE MORE: Fintan McCarthy, left, and Paul O'Donovan of Ireland celebrate with their gold medals after winning the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Final A, in a time of 06:16.46, during day 7 of the World Rowing Championships 2022 at Račice in Czech Republic. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
CHAMPIONS, ONCE MORE: Fintan McCarthy, left, and Paul O'Donovan of Ireland celebrate with their gold medals after winning the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Final A, in a time of 06:16.46, during day 7 of the World Rowing Championships 2022 at Račice in Czech Republic. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

O'Donovan, asked if his Olympic silver-winning brother Gary could make a push to return to the Irish boat, said his older sibling is far from done with rowing. 

"Gary is not done with this sport at all yet. 

"He sat out the latter half of last season but he's back in the boat again recently and he's training away, aiming for next year. 

"He's shown in the past that he's a really talented guy, he rows well, he's strong and he's fit so he could definitely feature again in the future."

Studying medicine, or not, rowing with his older brother, or not, Paul O'Donovan is showing no sign of slowing down and this past weekend has done no damage to the inevitable case that he will go down as one of, if not the best Irish athlete ever. 

*This week the National Dairy Council launched the next phase of its campaign – ‘From the Ground Up’ featuring athletes Paul O’Donovan and Vikki Wall. The campaign highlights the hard work and commitment required by top athletes and dairy farmers to be top of their game.

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