Team Ireland won their first medals of the 2016 Olympic games as brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan picked up silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls (aka the rowing, for the uneducated amongst you) on 12th August 2016. The Cork men finished second with a time of six minutes and thirty-one seconds just edging the Norwegian crew out of the silver medal positions, securing Ireland’s first ever medal for rowing.
Ireland’s new favourite brothers had won the nation’s heart over the last week with not only their impressive performances in both the heats and the semi-finals, but with their brilliant interview after Friday’s race, guaranteeing them instant nationwide viral fame.
Paul O’Donovan said that the brother’s game plan going into the final would be to “get from A to B as fasht as you can and hope for the besht”, and throughout the race it looked as though it would be a sound strategy.
At the halfway stage of the race they sat in fourth spot, but were consistently travelling at a fast pace and soon found themselves in second place and were rapidly closing in on the French in the gold medal position.
However, it wasn’t to be for the boys from Skibbereen as despite “pulling like dogs” towards the final stretch they finished just behind Houin and Azou of France to clinch the silver medal- Ireland’s first ever rowing medal at an Olympic games.
“It’s fantastic” Gary told RTE sport in an interview after the race. “We haven’t had too much of a chance to come to terms with it”.Despite the incredible achievement Paul said that they “were a little bit disappointed that we didn’t come away with the gold medal, I think we put it up to the French as best we could”
There was however still time for a bit of craic from the boys as they spoke of the reaction of a fellow Irish Olympian to their second place result. “We’re dreading going home now because Mick Conlan said he’d box the head off us if we didn’t get the gold”
If you’re in need of a smile or to feel some Irish pride, you can catch the full interview the O’Donovan brothers did with RTE Sport here.
Congratulations lads, there’ll be many a schteak eaten in Rio to celebrate!