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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 28 July, 2014

Sonia O’Sullivan: It has been a very, very successful Olympics for Team Ireland

The Cork woman says all 66 of the Irish Olympians in London are now part of her family.

Pat Hickey and Sonia O'Sullivan.
Pat Hickey and Sonia O'Sullivan.
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

THE FIVE-MEDAL HAUL of Team Ireland at London 2012 has left Sonia O’Sullivan with high hopes for the future.

Speaking to TheScore.ie after John Joe Nevin secured the country’s first silver medal of the games, O’Sullivan, who won a medal of the same colour in the 5000m at the Sydney Olympics, O’Sullivan had nothing but positive words to say.

She said, “Before we came here, a lot of people asked me to make predictions about how many medals we would bring home and I refused to do that because I didn’t want to put pressure on any athletes.

I just wanted the athletes to get out there and to let their performances do that talking and we’ve done that.

“We’ve been very, very successful. We have a great bunch of athletes across all sports and everybody’s gone out there and tried their best.”

Lessons learned

O’Sullivan commented that it was a great feeling to have five medals to bring back to Ireland.

“We had 66 athletes on the team,” she said, “so there’s 61 athletes out there and most of them have learned something that will bring them back better, stronger, fitter, faster, whatever next time around.”

The former middle distance runner pointed to the success of the boxing squad as an example of the results that can be achieved with good preparation. She said:

We have four medals out of six boxers so that’s a pretty good success rate . It’s all credit to the guys: Billy (Walsh), Zaur (Anita) and Des (Donnelly). They’ve got a great team around them here and also in the background who support the team. I think a lot of other sports can learn from that.

Family affair

O’Sullivan described London 2012 as ‘an absolutely fantastic games’ and added that she enjoyed her time, and her overseeing role, as enjoyable.

She said, “It was only tonight when John Joe was fighting that I realised how emotionally attached I’ve become to this team. I didn’t know until now that you become a part of it. O’Sullivan added:

You live in the village with people for two weeks, some of them you’ve never met before in your life, and you just grow to have them as part of your family.

“You just feel for them no matter what it is, whether they win or lose. You’re part of what they’re doing and it’s a pleasure to be here and be part of the whole experience.”

What next? Nevin to take his time before planning for the future

Confusion reigns over no homecoming for Ireland’s Olympic athletes

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