AOIFE Casey loved every minute of her Tokyo Olympics experience.
The Skibbereen rower – in the Irish lightweight women’s double with Margaret Cremen – finished a brilliant eighth overall in their event.
The young crew powered to second in the B final at the Games last Thursday to end their Olympics on a high. This race developed into a battle between the Irish boat and Switzerland, with the latter just taking the win in 6:49.16, marginally ahead of Casey and Cremen (6:49.90). Russia were almost two seconds further back in third, with Japan, Belarus and Canada following.
Given this was their first Olympics it was a very promising outing for the Cork duo who raced four times during the regatta, and they’ll look to build on this ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
With Lydia Heaphy, another Skibbereen rower, also in the reckoning, this boat has plenty of potential to improve.
Away from the races at the Sea Forest Waterway course in Tokyo Bay, Aoife loved every minute of her Olympic experience. From spotting Great Britain diver and Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley walking around the Olympic Village or just exploring the Village that was described as a ‘city within a city’ and hosted athletes from over 200 countries, these were a few weeks the Skibb rower will never forget.
‘It was such a surreal experience, going in seeing all the different people and all the different flags from the different countries. The first few days there was such excitement, and there was one day Tom Daley walked past us!’ Aoife says.
‘You’re focusing on yourself, the next session, what are we going to do, but then you’re like, “oh look, who’s that?”
‘It was a really good experience, just being there and soaking up the atmosphere. It was such a good experience to be a part of. The hard work is done at the rowing course and then you are back on the bus, and there was a buzz at the Village and always something to do. You could chill out in the room and play a bit of Scrabble or you could head off to the Plaza and go to the shops so it really was an experience.’
Now she’s experienced her first Olympics, Aoife Casey wants more.