Up for bronze: Sonia O’Sullivan statue to be unveiled in Cobh

Home town delighted to recognise athletics star’s achievements, says local tourism chief

Life-like: Sonia O’Sullivan poses on the plinth in Cobh where a bronze statue in her image will be unveiled this weekend. Photograph: Cobh Tourism

Life-like: Sonia O’Sullivan poses on the plinth in Cobh where a bronze statue in her image will be unveiled this weekend. Photograph: Cobh Tourism

 

She has won gold and silver on the track and in cross country, but now athlete Sonia O’Sullivan is to be honoured in bronze with a life-size statue to be unveiled this weekend in her home town of Cobh.

Sonia, who won silver in the 5,000m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, will be accompanied by her family and friends including husband Nic Bideau and their daughters, Ciara and Sophie for the unveiling of the statue in Cobh on Sunday.

The statue, commissioned by Cobh Tourism, is to be located in the centre of the Cork harbour town where Sonia grew up and began her athletics career with the local Ballymore Running Club.

Chairman of Cobh Tourism, Hendrick Verwey, said Cobh was delighted to be able to honour Sonia with a statue by local sculptor James McLoughlin, who modelled the work on Sonia’s demeanour after she won gold in the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“This statue captures the determination and spirit of Sonia and celebrates her achievements over a long and glittering career. It also conveys the immense pride that the people of Cobh and Ireland have for our greatest-ever athlete,” said Mr Verwey.

‘Minute detail’

“The pose chosen, minute detail and the immense talent and patience of Cobh sculptor James McLoughlin means that this statue will tell its own story to visitors and locals alike, and we hope the public will come along in their droves on Sunday to honour a great local hero.”

Mr Verwey said O’Sullivan was fully deserving of such an honour in her hometown, as her glittering career in athletics was one that had been followed closely by people all over Ireland.

“The story of Sonia O’Sullivan and her athletics career, her tremendous successes, many disappointments and the trials and tribulations of a glittering career is a story that carried the people of Cobh and Ireland along with her for over a decade.

“It is a happy story, and this statue will reflect that, celebrating a Cobh native who has been a tremendous ambassador not only for her sport but for her home town, Cobh, and Ireland,”said Mr Verwey, thanking everybody whose support helped make the statue a reality.