Sonia O’Sullivan was honoured with the accolade of Outstanding contribution to the Olympic movement in Ireland at the inaugural Olympic Council of Ireland Awards on Olympic Day, Friday evening the 23rd of June.
The award was presented to Sonia, not only for her achievement of winning an Olympic Silver medal in the 5000m at the 2000 Sydney Games but also for inspiring a generation of Olympic hopefuls to believe that success for Irish athletes was achievable. This was particularly so for female athletes, with Katie Taylor (Boxing) and Derval O’Rourke (Athletics) both referencing her as a positive role model and influence on their successful sporting careers. Sonia also served as Chef de Mission for the London Games and her presence and experience was greatly valued by the athletes who were part of Team Ireland for those Games
Ronnie Delany was named as the first inductee into Ireland’s Olympic Hall of Fame. In the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, Delany fulfilled his ultimate ambition, taking gold in the 1500m. This victory remains one of the greatest ever Irish sporting achievements.
The final award of the evening was the Spirit of Rio Awards, which centred on the Olympic values of friendship, excellence, and respect. The worthy recipients were Gary & Paul O’Donovan together with their coach Dominic Casey. They embodied the Olympic values at the Games, reaching beyond simply sporting performance to leave a lasting impact on their fellow-team members and indeed, the Irish public. 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. Their coach Dominic Casey was acknowledged as a corner stone in driving these values in not just not the O’Donovan brothers but also in the whole of the Skibbereen Rowing Club.
Sarah Keane, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland said: “I am delighted to see the positive response and such a great turn out, at the inaugural OCI award celebrations. Today on Olympic Day, it is fitting that we have formally begun the process of acknowledging Irish Olympians and also their coaches, sports science support team and federations who support them on their journey.”
From L to R: Dr Giles Warrington (OCI Sports Scientist and Training Camp Director 2012/2016), and Olympains Gavin Noble (Triathlon: London 2012), Judy Reynolds (Dressage: Rio 2016) Kenny Egan (Boxing: Beijing 2008) and compere Jacqui Hurley.
For More contact Sinead Galvin 087 6226816