London highs Olympic memories
That stadium (ExCel) and that night was just electric with about 98 per cent of the crowd Irish people. When the ceremony started and I walked out to present the medal . . . it was really special.
The other memory of London 2012 was the spectacular Games and the job done by the organising committee. I was particularly struck by the great mass of British public that turned out to support the whole Games, not just their own athletes. They proved they really know their sport.
The boxing event was extraordinary
Former Ireland soccer manager
My Da used to bring me to the National Stadium. To this day people ask why I still turn up for the Senior Championships. But Da was involved in setting up Drimnagh Boxing Club and when I was a boy he used to bring me to the Stadium for the championships. Sometimes he’d take me down to the changing rooms and to me that was the Holy Grail. Boxing was always part of my life and when London came around people just said to me you have to go and watch this Irish team in the Olympics. I did.
I had tickets for the semi-finals and finals but I remember I was outside the stadium trying to get a ticket for Paddy Barnes’ quarter-final. We finally met this guy from Dublin and were able to buy tickets from him. We would have won the 1,500m we ran so fast through the ExCel Arena.
The whole boxing event was extraordinary and the thing around Katie . . . I remember seeing Katie playing football in the Kennedy Cup around 2000 and going over to her and saying well done. She was probably the best player on the field. I used to say to her don’t take on the responsibility of getting women’s boxing into the Olympics, just keep boxing.
There was so much pressure on her going into London people had no idea. In my head I was making a list of things that could go wrong, scoring, judges, warnings . . . That and the tension, the tension of waiting at the end. It was incredible . . . the jumps in the ring . . . the run around the ring . . . the flag.
In the pool the 200m breaststroke final will always stick with me
(European Breaststroke silver medallist)
What I remember and what surprised me from the first time I landed in Heathrow was that people were asking if you needed assistance. You get used to the anonymity of London but everyone went out of their way to be helpful and courteous and even the people you met on the street were equally committed. In the pool the 200m breaststroke final will always stick with me. I will always remember Daniel Gyurta winning the gold medal. He had always knocked on the door but hadn’t won an Olympic medal. This time in London he was also challenged by Britain’s Michael Jamieson. Jamieson came back at the end of the race and as he did the noise in the place just stunned me. To get the crowd going in such a fashion is something I had never experienced before.