London highs Olympic memories
Some of our sporting celebrities share their magic moments from the Olympics
Ireland had another medal thanks to the competitiveness of Cian
Sydney 2000 silver medallist, London 2012 Chef De Mission
One memory that stands out for me was on the day of Katie Taylor’s semi-final. I went to the ExCel Arena with a Kangaroo dressed in Irish gear (an even longer story). I knew my Dad and youngest daughter Sophie were in the arena and one of my jobs was to bring the Irish boxing Kangaroo so that Sophie could blend in with all the other colourful Irish supporters. I found my Dad and Sophie and was lucky enough that one of the few spare seats was alongside them, so we sat together to watch the semi-final.
Prior to Katie entering the Arena I quickly checked the London 2012 App to check on the rest of Team Ireland competing that day. As it turned out Cian O’Connor was after having a great first round at Greenwich Park and the final was coming up straight after Katie’s semi. All of a sudden I went from enjoying a family moment in the ExCel Arena cheering on Katie to planning my route to Greenwich. As soon as Katie was finished I said a quick goodbye and ran out. There were plenty options for transport around London to each venue, but I managed to hitch a lift with OCI president Pat Hickey, Willie O’Brien and the FAI’s John Delaney in a London 2012 car with Sat-Nav.
It was all very exciting, racing across London, Katie was guaranteed a silver medal and Cian was about to compete in the final group with every chance of a medal. We arrived at Greenwich in plenty of time and I was told it was full. But I found a seat and sat in the silent arena as each horse and rider took their turn. It was such a contrast between the thunderous noise and chanting in the highly-charged atmosphere of the ExCel and the appreciative applause in a rather more subdued Greenwich when each horse and rider completed their round .
Even so it was a very tense atmosphere as Cian completed his round and to me it looked like he had secured a medal. But the result was unclear and people were getting up to leave. Next thing everyone was returning to their seats as it was announced there would be a jump-off for the silver medal. You could sense Cian was never going to settle for bronze and he chased the silver medal, racing the clock and clearing every jump.
When it looked like he had the silver medal in his pocket Blue Loyd 12, just clipped the final jump. But Ireland had another Olympic medal to take home, thanks to the competitiveness and never-say-die attitude of Cian O’Connor.
The highlight was when I presented the gold to Katie
(President Olympic Council of Ireland)
The highlight of the Games was when I presented the gold medal to Katie Taylor. That would be the one highlight. It’s the first gold medal I presented to an Irish athlete. I was hoping to do it with Sonia O’Sullivan in Sydney but as it turned out, it was a silver medal.