The start of the Olympics this week is the culmination of years of dedication and commitment by hundreds of Irish athletes and their background teams, and families.
It is a very sad time for those same families who may have dreamt of this event for years, and hoped to one day be there to cheer on their loved ones.
Nowhere in Ireland is this more strongly felt that in West Cork, which has never before been so well represented at the Olympics. Covid has been a hammer blow to so many elements of global life, but its effect on the families of Olympians is surely one of its cruellest blows.
At this, the pinnacle of their careers, these incredible sports men and women must do it alone, knowing that their closest supporters are watching from thousands of miles away.
Let us all come out in support of them this year and show the world that their families comprise an entire nation – one that is cheering them on for the incredible achievement of becoming Olympians, whatever the outcome this week, albeit from afar.