Media Release – Statement
Friday 26th August, 2016
As the representative body for the National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) in Ireland, we feel it is important to put the achievements of our Olympic team into perspective. Despite the various controversies that arose in relation to the Olympic Games in Rio, the fact is that these were one of the most successful Games for Ireland and for the sportsmen and sportswomen that comprised Team Ireland. With perhaps one exception, any controversies were not of the athletes’ making, and while this has been recognised by some, it is the belief of the Federation that the achievements of our athletes deserve more widespread praise and acclamation.
The team represented our country with pride, passion and success. Our athletes’ performances were a direct reflection of the funding they have received from the government, namely the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This monetary support, which is overseen both by the individual NGBs of the sports in question and by Sport Ireland, plays a vital role in the success of elite sport in Ireland. In particular, we should celebrate the fact that:
- With 77 sportsmen and sportswomen involved, that this was our largest team since that of London in 1948
- Our female athletes comprised a third of this team
- We won two silver medals in rowing and sailing – our first ever medal in rowing and only our second ever in sailing
- We had 14 top ten finishes – that is 14 of the team finished in the top ten in their respective events
- We were represented in 14 different sports
- Many of the team set new Irish records, whilst even more achieved new personal bests
- Our hockey team (our first to qualify since 1908) narrowly lost 2-3 to the ultimate winners Argentina
- Thomas Barr broke his own Irish record twice before losing out on a medal by 5/100ths of a second
- Robert Heffernan competed in his 5th Olympics, finishing 6th in the 50km walk
- Oliver Dingley qualified for the final in the 3m springboard diving competition. He was the first Irish diver to reach the Olympics since 1948
- Ireland won its first ever men’s badminton matches at an Olympics when Scott Evans made it to the last 16
- We had representatives in female gymnastics and track cycling for the very first time.
Our team did the country proud, and once again our sportsmen and sportswomen were great ambassadors for the nation. They deserve to be celebrated, not alone for their achievements over the past two weeks, but also for their dedication over the years as they put in the time and effort that allows them to compete at the highest of levels. Their performances must also be shared by the many coaches, officials, the support staff at the Irish Institute of Sport and the volunteers who, week-in week-out, make sport happen in Ireland. Without them, there would be no Olympic athletes to fill us with pride.
And while the Federation does recognise that there were controversies that will undoubtedly continue to generate publicity, they are not the athletes’ story and nor should they be.
We should now turn our attention to the Paralympic Games and to the 46 athletes who will be representing Ireland in Rio from the 7th to the 18th September. They also filled us with pride during the London Games in 2012, and we have no doubt that they will do the same in Rio. Let the nation now get behind them and celebrate all that makes sport important to our country. We wish them well.
For reference, contact:
Cian Murray, Communications Executive
Federation of Irish Sport,
Irish Sport HQ,
National Sports Campus,
T: (01) 687 1665 / 083 467 9464