Here we go another continent another Olympic Games Rio 2016. Where to begin a series of articles i will engage occassionally over next few weeks.
My thoughts in recent weeks have been about where this interest in athletics came from was it a race in the school yard at Sessiaghoneill NS which I can so many years later vividly recall or watching a black and white TV as the Olympics unfolded in Rome and John Lawlor, a hammer thrower, chased a medal that wasn't to be; 4th in the end and remembering my focus amongst tens of others at boarding school St Columb's.
This was a daily treat from school authorities and anyone who was ever in that boarding school environment would understand the treat it was. I think it really was the arrival of a young priest on the staff at same College introducing athletic,s an opportunity I took and basically have run with ever since
Skipping ahead I find myself boarding a plane to Sydney 2000 Olympics, a dream come true, a dream that didn't exist all those years previous but a period as national junior U-20 manager and as Team Leader for European cup, etc., had put me in the frame so up and away I go. Young passionate, definitely enthusiastic but dealing with serious internal goings on behind the scenes. Indeed it was to make national news, things like selections and what gear would we in fact wear; yes it was stressful, unneccessary, foolish but such is life and all these experiences preparing me for life outside the remit of dealing with the routine key stuff the athlete, who is the real story always.
I felt I would do that job and leave it at that; return to my greatest athletic love, Finn Valley AC, but stating the obvious now in 2016 it didn't roll out like that. Along came Athens, I'm in a training camp, Cyprus 2004; on to Beijing training camp, Japan into China 2008 for the Games and back to London 2012. I say back as I had spent 2 periods of my life studying there at St Marys, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham and you have guessed it, I'm back at that location again, the site of our training base and I'm chuffed to bits as this place had given me a great education years earlier. Now on a Sunday evening late July I'm in a city in Brazil for a training camp, Uberlandia, population 850,000 and will head to Rio in the next week
Arrived after a 30 hour journey Friday, leaving family early Thursday have settled in; hit the track yesterday in the company of Mark English and Thomas Barr to get the final story underway. Challenges you face are fatigue from travel, adapting to time zone, getting a proper sleep pattern and simply getting and settling routines in place
All is good and I'm now under pressure to get on the move once again so I'll leave you with that introduction and develop the story in the weeks ahead in whatever format and wherever my mind just happens to be at that moment as I sit at this computer. Final word we kept getting updates re the Donegal game at the training session so there is no getting away from GAA back at home. Really happy for them and we will set up a link to watch the Dublin match on Saturday and take time out to cheer from this distance .
Back online again, have been back to the track once again its 26 degrees; had a relaxing chat with Mark about where it all began for him. And after an initial egg and spoon race his earliest memory was the annual Finn Valley school Sports in the company of his classmates from Woodlands N S and no doubt Evelyn Roche his teacher whom I always associate with this pro-active school. Back to my story and my opportunity Mark gets his opportunity at primary school and with his local club thereafter and now UCD and Ireland he prepares for the biggest moment of his life.