Sitting on Anna O’Flanagan’s desk are a set of pens that have remained in the packet for almost six years now.

In just under a hundred days, she may finally get around to chucking them out, maybe even burn them. Bought in something of an emotional daze in Valencia, in 2015, the day after Rio qualification was denied by the width of a post, they sit there as a vivid reminder of shattered dreams.

“They will definitely go in the bin once I set foot on the pitch in Tokyo!” the Green Army’s all-time top goal-scorer says of that pen set.

“There’s a long way to go and I need to hopefully stay fit and well and play to the best of my ability over the next while to get on that pitch. Maybe I can burn them then!”

For many of her team-mates, the stationary is an odd keepsake but is something O’Flanagan uses to find something of an emotional catharsis in good times and bad.

“I have lots of notebooks and do get slagged over it!” she laughs. “I find it interesting to write about how I am feeling. You can have so many thoughts going around your head, worries or concerns, thinking about what might happen.

“When you write it down, your rational brain kicks in and the act of writing means you can rationalise it a bit better and wonder ‘why was I thinking about it like that?’ When you put pen to paper, it can look a bit ridiculous. It helps get a sense of reality!”

It is something which helped her through the tough lockdown times when she struggled for a sense of purpose. O’Flanagan has put her career on hold to, first, pursue and succeed in the run-up to 2018 World Cup silver, and then again for this Olympic push after a stint with Deloitte in the Netherlands.

But when Tokyo was put on hiatus, it had her questioning what next as the limbo of whether or not the Games would go ahead was played out.

“There was so much uncertainty for everyone in the world. For us, as athletes, we thrive off certainty and being planned. What gets me through training and those tough days is really visualising being at that next major tournament, being at the Olympics, competing and winning games.

“I went through a period when I just couldn’t see it, I couldn’t feel it. The world seemed so upside down that the thought of being able to travel to an Olympics seemed so far away.

“That was when I struggled the most. The last couple of months, there’s been such positive communication coming from Tokyo and also seeing other sports teams and events happen.

“Now, I can see it unfold. It will be weird and different for sure but being able to visualise it makes it seem more real, more tangible. We have to stay focused and assume it is happening, but I am not as anxious now that it will be binned at any second.

“That was so hard when we were training and trying to do your best, doing it with that in the back of your mind. I don’t have that worry anymore.”

The nature of the current world, though, means the road remains a bumpy one with plenty of twists and turns. The most recent example, last week’s proposed trip to Malaysia being called off at the last minute.  

“Malaysia was a disappointment, but we are still able to train and play and this just gives us a perspective on how sport is cruel and your whole sporting career can change overnight. You have to treasure each day.”

A feature of the Green Army story, though, is how they roll with the punches and while other countries may be new to such slings and arrows of fortune, O’Flanagan says there will be few better outfits capable of coping.

“We know if there is any team that knows how to deal with adversity, it is us. If there is any team that has come together before and succeeded, it is us.

“We always say we are used to playing in front of no supporters. An empty stadium in Japan is no different to training in Abbotstown every week. Those little things add up.

“We saw from the GB win that what we are doing here has been going well and the year probably has stood to us as a group. If anything, we enjoy doing it when our backs are against the wall.”

 ______________________________________________________

* Irish international hockey star, Anna O'Flanagan, is an ambassador of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s new Olympic Schools Challenge, ‘Road to Tokyo’. The interactive challenge will engage with school children, encouraging them to get more active and teaching them about Tokyo and the Olympic Games.

The challenge is part of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s ‘Dare to Believe’ schools programme, which is proudly supported by FBD, and sees Team Ireland calling on schools and families across the country to join them on the Road to Tokyo from May 4th to May 31st. You can find out more here: https://www.daretobelieve.ie/roadtotokyo  

OLYMPIC FEDERATION OF IRELAND IN ASSOCIATION WITH FBD INSURANCE LAUNCHES NEW OLYMPIC SCHOOLS CHALLENGE ‘ROAD TO TOKYO’

The challenge is part of the OFI’s ‘Dare to Believe’ programme

The Olympic Federation of Ireland in association with FBD Insurance has today launched their new Olympic Schools Challenge, ‘Road to Tokyo’. The challenge is part of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s ‘Dare to Believe’ schools programme and sees Team Ireland calling on schools and families across the country to join them on an interactive journey from Ireland to Tokyo from May 4th to May 31st.

The Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ offers schools across the country the opportunity to take part in a fun, interactive and educational journey with a host of Team Ireland athletes, as they begin preparations for the final months on the road to this year’s Olympic Games. Schools and families can get involved by logging their physical activity and workouts, which convert to kilometres and move them closer to Tokyo each step of the way.There will be four stopovers en route for all involved, where students will learn about the Olympics, Tokyo, and get some insights and pro tips from Team Ireland athletes. There will be spot prizes, art challenges, and quizzes to make sure that all interests are catered for!

Now in its third year, ‘Dare to Believe’ - which was set up with funding from Olympic Solidarity and is supported by FBD Insurance - brings the Olympics into the classroom for over 5,000 children nationwide. The school activation programme is championed and supported by the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, and was developed by 2008 Olympian, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas. It teaches primary school students about Olympic Values and Olympism through a curriculum that includes over 40 of the approved education methodologies. The new Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ will focus on exploring the joy of effort and the wider benefits of sport and staying active, with topics like teamwork, visualisation, motivation and goal setting discussed on the way

Speaking today, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas was looking forward to the new schools challenge: Speaking today, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas was looking forward to the new schools challenge: “We are really excited to be launching this new Olympic Schools Challenge for pupils, teachers, schools and families across the country, and to be inviting them to join us on the Road to Tokyo.  This is a hugely exciting way to bring the Olympics and, in particular, this year’s Olympic Games, into the classroom for children across the country, and held build excitement for our athletes as the countdown to Tokyo continues. Through this programme, we are really looking forward to showing children across Ireland that they can dare to believe, and we hope that this challenge will not only inspire children to follow their dreams, but will also help to motivate them to get out there and get active with their classmates and families. We are extremely grateful for the support from both Olympic Solidarity and FBD Insurance, which allows this programme to continue to grow.”

Aileen Donoghue, Head of Marketing at FBD Insurance, stated: “FBD Insurance is thrilled to support Team Ireland once more with this fantastic new challenge. The Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ is one not to be missed by schools around the country. As we move closer and closer to Tokyo, this challenge is a superb way for elite Irish athletes to truly connect with children across the country, and help them to get active while also learning all about the Olympic Games and Olympic values. We are really excited to follow their journeys across the world through the virtual tracker that will lead them to Tokyo, and we know that the Team Ireland athletes will be thrilled with their support as they begin their final preparations for this year’s Olympic Games.”

Also speaking at today’s launch, Team Ireland athlete Sarah Lavin stated: “I am absolutely delighted to be a part of such a special launch today with the Olympic Federation of Ireland and FBD Insurance as part of their ‘Dare to Believe’ programme. The Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ is one I would have loved to have taken part in myself when I was younger, and I know there are many pupils around the country who are already counting down to Day One of the challenge on May 4th. When I was young, my dream was to represent Ireland and to compete at an Olympic Games and hopefully, through this challenge and the ‘Dare to Believe’ programme overall, we can inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes and start them off on their own sporting journeys.”

You can find out more about ‘Dare to Believe’ here https://www.daretobelieve.ie/ and sign up to get involved in the Olympic Schools Challenge – Road to Tokyo here: https://www.daretobelieve.ie/roadtotokyo

The Dare to Believe Programme is a collaborative project which is supported by a number of stakeholders including the IOC, the OFI Athletes' Commission and the Irish Olympians, as well being supported by FBD Insurance.

Dare to Believe and follow Team Ireland on the Road to Tokyo

COMING SOON

This May join Team Ireland on the Road to Tokyo. Over the month we are inviting schools and families to join us in an interactive journey from Ireland to Tokyo, with our Olympic athletes offering tips, insights and activities along the way!

The Summer Olympic Games occur every four years, and following the postponement of the 2020 Games by one year, Team Ireland are in their final months of preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which take place from the 23 July - 8 August.

In April we will be launching our ROAD TO TOKYO Olympic Schools Challenge, where classes and families can log their activities, 15 minutes at a time, and watch their tracker move across the world to Tokyo. There will be four stops en route, where students learn about some of the Olympic Values, the history of the Games, and get some insights into the lives of the Team Ireland athletes. There will be spot prizes, art challenges, and quizzes to make sure that all interests are catered for!

The focus for this challenge is exploring the joy of effort and the wider benefits of sport and staying activity, with topics like teamwork, visualisation, motivation and goal setting discussed on the way.

The campaign will be launched on April 13th officially.

Last weekend we had a number of highlights from Equestrian and Golf, with a round up of those medal winning performances from Eventer Cathal Daniels and Golfer Stephanie Meadows. This weekend will be another relatively quiet one, and we have also included an interview with Jack Woolley who is preparing for his first competition since the pandemic started. For anyone interested in getting the transcript, it is available on request.  

The Olympic qualification status of the athletes can be found AT THIS LINK which will be regularly updated. While many athletes are currently training from home, with little competition, see below a summary of sports which will see Irish Olympic hopefuls in action this coming weekend. This weekly update is provided in collaboration with the various National Governing Bodies, and the press officer contact details for each sport is provided below.  

Olympic Federation of Ireland Updates

Dare to Believe on RTÉ After School Hub Winter Games – Following last week’s announcement of FBD’s sponsorship of the programme several of the Dare to Believe ambassadors have featured on RTÉ’s After School Hub Winter Games. The aim of this has been to introduce younger children to the Olympic sports in a fun and interactive way.

Equestrian

Last weekend Ireland’s 2019 European Championship bronze medallist in Eventing Cathal Daniels (Galway) continued his preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games with a commanding win in the feature CC14*_S at the Portugal Winter Tour in Barroca d’Alva. While this event held a chance for some international athletes to achieve the qualification standard needed for the Games, it was not relevant to Ireland, who have already made history with full teams qualified in all disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping. Full report HERE.

Golf

After a three week break Stephanie Meadows and Leona Maguire were competing in the Pelican Women’s Championship Presented by Dex Imaging & Konica Minolta in Belleair, Florida from the 19-22 November. Stephanie finished third on the LPGA tour, which sees her jump a couple of places to 38th in the Olympic rankings. Leona finished T53, and also has jumped a few spots to 43rd in Olympic rankings.

Stephanie Meadow credited the huge team behind her after matching her career best LPGA Tour finish with a third place result at the Pelican Women’s Championship.

Playing in the final group alongside eventual champion Sei Young Kim and Ally McDonald, the Jordanstown professional recovered from bogeys at her opening two holes to post a hard-fought one-under par round of 69 for a nine-under par tournament total and a podium finish. The result ties her career-best performance, last earned at the 2014 US Women’s Open and is proof that the hard work is paying off for the now 28-year old. Full report HERE

Swimming

Saturday (28th Nov) is the final week of Swim Ireland Performance Athletes Time Trial Series. Athletes who have been training at the National Sports Campus, UL Sport and in Bangor will race against each other in the third of the series at the NAC. This is the first time that athletes will come together with the previous two race days held in their home pools as virtual races.

Taekwondo

This week’s interview was with Ireland’s Taekwondo star, Jack Woolley. Earlier this year Jack successfully secured Ireland’s first every spot in Taekwondo, competing in the -58kg category. In this interview (transcript available on request), Jack talks about some of the strategic decisions that were made when planning competitions that ultimately led to Olympic qualification, and also about the strides that he has made in his own training during lockdown.

Next week Woolley travels to Bosnia, where he will prepare for competition in the European Championships which takes place on the 10 December. WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE.

Dare to Believe, in association with FBD Insurance, features on popular RTÉ2 series

The winter is coming in fast, but the best way to stay warm is to stay moving. That's why After School Hub have a super Sports Week coming up next week.

Our friends from Team Ireland are here for the After School Hub Winter Games with Kenneth Egan, Kellie Harrington joined by Sive Brassil, Oliver Dingley, Brendan Boyce and stars of the Irish Women's Hockey Team all competing for the After School Hub gold medal!

Tune in next week from the 23-27 November between 3.20-4.20pm to see who becomes the RTÉ After School Hub Winter Olympics Champion!!!

OLYMPIC FEDERATION OF IRELAND ANNOUNCES FBD INSURANCE AS OFFICIAL SPONSOR OF THE EXPANDING ‘DARE TO BELIEVE’ PROGRAMME

25 Athlete Ambassadors set to bring the Olympics to the classroom in 2020/21 rollout

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has today announced FBD Insurance as the sponsor of this year’s ‘Dare to Believe’ Olympic Schools Programme. Ireland’s homegrown insurer is the Official Sponsor of Team Ireland on the road to Tokyo, and this extension of the sponsorship will allow ‘Dare to Believe’ to continue to grow and inspire schoolchildren nationwide. Today’s announcement also included the unveiling of the 25 ‘Dare to Believe’ athlete ambassadors from across a variety of sports.

Headshots-on-PDF-squad-2020-1Download

In its first year, ‘Dare to Believe’, which was set up with funding from Olympic Solidarity support, surpassed all of its targets, bringing the Olympics into the classroom for over 5,000 children nationwide. The school activation programme, championed and supported by the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, was developed by 2008 Olympian Roisin McGettigan and, as the programme moves into the next phase, the focus is on further expansion, with a boost of 16 new ambassadors to the programme, bringing the total to 25 athletes.

‘Dare to Believe’, in association with FBD, will teach primary school students about Olympic Values and Olympism through a curriculum that includes over 40 of the approved education methodologies. The ‘five-ring’ programme allows teachers to interactively explore broad themes that reflect the Olympic Values of Respect and Equality, Healthy Body and Mind, and Joy of Effort. The final ring focuses on Striving for Excellence, which sees the athlete ambassador deliver their personal sporting story to the class, with the changing environment meaning that these visits will now be virtual.

A host of the ‘Dare to Believe’ athletes, including boxer Kellie Harrington, hockey stars, Anna O’Flanagan, Roisin Upton and Emma Buckley as well as Oliver Dingley (Diving), Sive Brassil (Modern Pentathlon) and Brendan Boyce (Race Walking) will also appear on RTÉ’s After School Hub programme next week from Monday, November 23rd, with Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission member and Olympic medallist in boxing, Kenneth Egan, also set to feature on the programme.

“I am delighted to be a ‘Dare to Believe’ ambassador and I’m thrilled that Team Ireland sponsor, FBD Insurance, has come on board to support this brilliant programme. When I was young, it was always my dream to be an Olympian and I trained and worked extremely hard to try and make that a reality.

Said Oliver Dingley, one of the athletes on hand to launch the programme,

I am honoured to be part of a programme that aims to inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes.  I look forward to telling them my story, passing on all of the skills I have learned from sport and trying to leave a positive impact on these pupils.” 

Speaking today, Roisin McGettigan highlighted the success so far of the ‘Dare to Believe’ programme:

“When we set about designing ‘Dare to Believe’, we had an ambition to inspire children to follow their dreams, to be daring and to believe in themselves. We set a curriculum that we believed would reflect that ambition, while being firmly planted in approved methodologies, with resources that would make the delivery as easy as possible for teachers. The first phase has received an overwhelmingly positive welcome, from everyone involved – teachers, students and ambassadors themselves. The aim was to display the many benefits of sport, activity, goal setting and respect in a way that even children with no real interest in sport could find something that they could learn from. We encourage them - through the programme - to follow their Olympic-sized dream, whatever that may be. Over the past year, we have been inundated with posters, cards, designs and videos from children nationwide who have participated in the programme. Last summer’s ‘Dare to Design’ competition was hugely popular, and we have been blown away with the feedback from the athletes’ involvement in the RTÉ Home School Hub productions – with more action coming in the next week! We are grateful for the support from both Olympic Solidarity and FBD Insurance, which allows this programme to continue to grow.”

Aileen Donoghue, Head of Marketing at FBD Insurance, stated:

“FBD Insurance has been delighted to support Team Ireland in their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics next year, and we are thrilled to now be able to expand that support into this year’s ‘Dare to Believe’ programme. We believe that this programme is a superb way for elite Irish athletes to truly connect with children across the country, helping them to develop skills across a wide range of areas and inspire them to achieve not only their sporting ambitions, but their life dreams. We have seen the superb impact that role models play in young people’s lives, and we know the profound impact of sport in our communities around the country; we are proud that we are helping Ireland’s elite athletes inspire the generation of tomorrow.”

Olympic Federation of Ireland Commercial Director, Catherine Tiernan added:

“FBD Insurance has been a brilliant supporter of Team Ireland on the road to Tokyo, and we are grateful of their extended support to help grow ‘Dare to Believe’. Last year’s programme was a resounding success, and we are excited to see it grow and expand even more this year.”

You can find out more about ‘Dare to Believe’ and how to get involved here: https://www.daretobelieve.ie/

The second phase of Dare to Believe includes the following athletes, representing a good geographical spread:

NEW AMBASSADORS

SPORTATHLETELOCATIONLEVEL
Athletics – 200mMarcus LawlorCarlowHigh Performance
Athletics – 400m HurdlesMichelle FinnDublinHigh Performance
Athletics – HurdlesSarah LavinLimerickHigh Performance
Athletics – SprinterSarah QuinnMayoHigh Performance
BoxingMichaela WalshBelfastEuropean Games Silver Medallist
DivingClare CryanDublinHigh Performance
DivingOliver DingleyDublin (+ family from Cobh)Olympian
EquestrianFred ScalaCarlowQualified for Tokyo
EquestrianJoseph MurphyCo. DownOlympian
HockeyAnna O’FlanaganDublinQualified for Tokyo
HockeyEmma BuckleyDublin/CorkQualified for Tokyo
HockeyNicci DalyDublinQualified for Tokyo
HockeyRoisin UptonLimerickQualified for Tokyo
HockeyShirley McCayBelfastQualified for Tokyo
SailingSéafra GuilfoyleCorkHigh Performance
TriathlonErin McConnellNewtownardsHigh Performance

EXISTING AMBASSADORS

SPORTATHLETELOCATIONLEVEL
Athletics - MarathonBreege ConnollyNorth-West IrelandOlympian
Athletics – 50k Race WalkBrendan BoyceCork County/CityOlympian
Athletics – 1500mGreta StreimikyteDublinParalympian
Athletics - HurdlesThomas BarrLimerickOlympian
BoxingKellie HarringtonDublinWorld Champion
BoxingGrainne WalshOffalyEuropean Games Bronze Medallist
HockeyShane O’DonoghueDublin, Wicklow, WexfordOlympian
Modern PentathlonSive BrassilGalwayHigh Performance
SwimmingNicole TurnerLaoisParalympian

In light of the global pandemic, Dare to Believe, the Irish Olympic schools programme, moved online, with over 200 schools around the country taking part as part of their home schooling.

Dare to Believe was launched in February 2019 and focuses on Olympism and Paralympism, and features the Olympic values. The fun and interactive programme has been completed over 5000 school children around the country. One of the highlights of Dare to Believe is the athlete visit, where an athlete visits the classroom to talk about their journey in sport and to answer questions.

Since 'lockdown' this programme has gone online, with the ambassadors conducting virtual visits via our Facebook Live feed.

The Facebook LIVE line up:

 

 

RTÉ HOME SCHOOL HUB OLYMPICS, COMPETITIONS, AND VIRTUAL VISITSSHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARE TO BELIEVE SCHOOL PROGRAMME 

Olympic athletes will be helping children across the country get into the spirit of sports day next week as they switch their focus to the playground in the RTÉ Home School Hub Olympics. The focus of the popular home school programme from the 25-29 May will be on the Olympics and will feature Dare to Believe, the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s (OFI) schools activation programme, and will include interviews with five of the athlete ambassadors, as well as Olympic Silver Medallist Kenneth Egan.

 

This month has been a busy one for the programme, with over 200 schools taking part in the recently launched online sessions, which include virtual ambassador visits via Facebook Live every Thursday at 12 noon.

 

This week also saw the launch of the Dare to Design Competition which is a challenge where children are invited to design a medal, poster or Olympic stadium for Dublin 2040, imagining Ireland were to host the Games in the future. This engages a broad range of children, including those who may not be involved in sport. Details on how to enter the competition can be found HERE, the closing date is the 18 June, with the winners being announced on Olympic Day, 23 June 2020.

 

Dare to Believe is a five ring programme which focuses on the Olympic values, and has a wide ranging appeal to school children, whether they are interested in sport or not. Normally the ambassador visits to the classroom is the highlight of the programme for the students, and in light of the recent pandemic, these visits are being done online.

Team Ireland Hockey Olympian Shane O’Donoghue was the first of the ambassadors to present his story as part of the Facebook Live Ambassador Series, where he fielded questions from school children who dialled in from around the country, his video can be found HERE.

Next up is Thomas Barr who will be presenting at 12 noon on the 28 May

Next week RTÉ Home School Hub Olympics will feature interviews, activities and challenges with Olympians Thomas Barr, Shane O’Donoghue and Claire Lambe, World Champion Boxer Kellie Harrington, and Paralympian Greta Streimikyte. Athletes’ Commission Member and Olympic Silver Medallist in boxing Kenneth Egan will present some of his memorabilia and step in as referee for the big event.

 

Speaking about the recent activations, Peter Sherrard, CEO of the Olympic Federation of Ireland said,

 

“Our elite athletes have been a real credit to Team Ireland during the lockdown, helping the country through a very difficult period. The Dare to Believe programme is based on athletes going into schools to inspire the next generation so teaming up with RTÉ to reach a greater number of children has been invaluable.

 

“Across Europe, Olympic athletes have been able to return to training, so we understand the frustration that our athletes must be feeling at this time. We are working hard for a prioritised return for this small group who represent us so well internationally so that they can keep their Olympic hopes on track.”

 

For more information on the Dare to Believe programme visit the website www.daretobelieve.ie.

 

 

Olympic hockey player Shane O'Donoghue is the first ambassador on the Olympic Federation of Ireland Dare to Believe Programme to talk about his Olympic journey on Facebook Live - with his presentation taking place at noon on the 21 May 2020. On the Dare to Believe Schools Programme, the ambassador visit to the classroom is normally the highlight of the programme, and since the recent global pandemic, the programme has been adapted to an online offering, with virtual ambassador visits via Facebook Live.

 

Rio Olympian, and top Irish goal scorer for the men's hockey team, Shane O'Donoghue will be talking about his journey in sport at 12 noon on Thursday 21 May, and will be fielding questions from anyone online. If you want to get your questions in ahead of the talk, email them to info@daretobelieve.ie.

 

Athletes’ Commission Representatives from Europe Gather in Ireland

Irish Olympians Recognised on Opening Day of the Forum

 

This weekend the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Athletes’ Commission host 100 delegates at the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Athlete’s Forum in Dublin. Athletes’ Commissions representatives and Olympians are attending the three day conference, where topical issues will be discussed from the 6-8 December. Speaking at today’s welcome was EOC Vice-President Niels Nygaard, OFI President Sarah Keane, IOC Athletes’ Commission member Danka Bartekova, and EOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Gerd Kanter.

 

The EOC Athletes’ Commission are running the forum and are using it as an opportunity to open dialogues regarding issues relevant to athletes, with Irishman David Harte representing Ireland as Secretary of the EOC Athletes’ Commission. Speaking at the event Harte said,

 

“We are incredibly pleased to bring it to Ireland, and of course as an Irishman, I’m incredibly proud to have it here in Dublin. Over the coming days we will be discussion important points from simple breakout sessions into what does an athletes’ commission do, its roles and functions, how it can be improved upon, as well as Rule 40 from an Olympic Games side of things.”

 

Using the opportunity of having so many Olympians in one room from around Europe, including CEO of the World Olympians Association (WOA), Mike Miller, Irish Olympians Association (IOA) President and Olympic Gold Medallist Ronnie Delany attended the opening day as an observer along with John Bouchier-Hayes, Vice-President of the IOA, and presented eight Irish Olympians with their OLY pins and certificates. OLY was introduced by the WOA in 2017 as an honorary title, bestowed upon Olympians, recognizing the hard work, dedication and perseverance it takes to compete on sport’s greatest stage.

 

Several Irish Olympians received their OLY pins and certificates of recognition tonight from Ronnie Delany. Irish Olympic Medallists Michael Carruth (Boxing Gold, Barcelona 2012) and David Wilkins (Sailing Silver, Moscow 1980) were recognised, as well as Michael Ryan (Fencing, Tokyo 1964, Mexico 1968), Phil Conway (Shot Putt, Munich 1972), Grainne Murphy (Swimming, London 2012),  Natalya Coyle (Modern Pentathlon, London 2012, Rio 2016), and Athletes’ Commission members David Harte (Hockey, Rio 2016) and Shane O’Connor (Alpine Skiing, Vancouver 2010).

 

Speaking at the event Delany spoke about how the Olympians present represented Irish athletes spanning many Olympiads and a wide range of sports, These Irish Olympians present represent the Olympic family here in Ireland. I am incredibly humbled to be an Olympian and to have represented my country at the Olympics, competing at a Games remain some of the proudest moments of my life.”

 

The EOC Athlete’s Forum resumes tomorrow, with OFI Athletes’ Commission Chair Shane O’Connor addressing the delegates, having been asked to discuss the OFI Athletes’ Commission, which has been described as an example of how an effective Athletes’ Commission can function. The Athlete’s Forum continues until Sunday 8 December.

 

Last week legends of World Athletics gathered at an event in Monaco to celebrate the achievements of some of the world's best runners in the mile including Ireland’s 1956 Olympic 1500m champion Ronnie Delany and former world 5000m champion and world indoor record holder Eamonn Coghlan, as well as eight of the last 10 living men’s outdoor world record holders.

Asked to recall his most treasured moment in a career that included a winning run of 40 races, Delany responded:

“My lasting memory is of the Olympics in 1956, and at the Olympics the fellowship, the comradeship, the beauty of the Olympic Games. It was very much there at that time, when there was no television and no satellites. And there have been a lot of great miles afterward. So to be amongst my peers tonight – I’m so delighted to be here.”

 

President of the Irish Olympians Association and Olympic Gold Medallist Ronnie Delany was presented with the OLY pin by CEO of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Peter Sherrard at the Olympic Federation of Ireland Headquarters in Howth last Tuesday. Delany was accompanied by three time Olympian and Treasurer of the Irish Olympians Association John Bouchier Hayes.

The OLY pin is part of the World Olympians Association’s popular post-nominal letters initiative that awards Olympians with the OLY designation after their names in recognition of the years of hard work it took to become an Olympian.

Ronnie Delany has spearheaded this initiative in Ireland where there has already been a considerable uptake by Irish Olympians, who can also claim an @olympian.org email address.

Speaking at the presentation Sherrard said, “It’s an honour to present Ronnie Delany with the first OLY pin in Ireland, and to thank both him and John Bouchier-Hayes for the work that they do with the Irish Olympians and their lifelong commitment to Irish Olympic sport. As an athlete, Ronnie’s phenomenal gold medal win in 1956 continues to inspire generations of athletes. The work and energy his puts into Olympism and connecting Olympians is admirable.”

If you are an Olympian, you are eligible to apply for the post-nominal letters OLY via the World Olympians Association.

What this means is that anyone who has competed at the Olympic Games can use these three letters after their name whether it is on business cards, cvs or on social media, offering public recognition of years of hard work, dedication and the promotion of the Olympic values.

If you have competed in an Olympic Games and would like to sign up for OLY FILL OUT THIS FORM.

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