Question on gold medallist queried


The Who Wants to be a Millionaire? saga took a new twist yesterday with the suggestion that the last question asked to controversial contestant Shane O'Doherty may have been flawed.

A report in today's Kerryman questions the question: "Name the Dublin-born Olympic gold medallist who went on to become a Nationalist MP for South Kerry?".

The paper argues John Pius Boland could not have won a gold medal because gold medals were not distributed at the first modern Olympic games in Athens in 1896.

But the great-niece of John Pius Boland has weighed in to defend his honour. Ms Desiree Shortt, of Dublin, said it was "unquestionable" that John Pius Boland was the correct answer. "He was a gold medallist who went on to become a Nationalist MP," she said.

A spokeswoman for Tyrone Productions last night played down the importance of the issue raised by the Kerryman.

" `Gold medallist' is a term used to describe a person who has won an Olympic event. It's a title. We didn't ask who received a gold medal," she said.

The Complete Book of the Olympics by David Wallechinsky states: "First-place winners in 1896 were awarded a silver medal, a crown of olive branches and a diploma."

However, Tyrone Productions, the company behind the show, has cited other sources, including the RTE website, that describe John Pius Boland as a "gold-medal winner".

Mr O'Doherty said: "I can't believe that these people would let this happen again. For the second time, I find myself in a situation where I thought something was over and it isn't."

Following the controversy over the "lunula" question, he was invited back to the programme at the £125,000 mark with a chance to play for £250,000 last Sunday night.

However, when offered what he described as an "iffy" question, Mr O'Doherty chose not to attempt an answer.