Olympic silver medallists back training this week
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
THERE’S no rest for the wicked, they say, or Olympic silver medallists and national heroes, it seems.
This Thursday morning, Ireland’s most famous sporting brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan were back on the water at home in Skibbereen for the first time since they landed home to a heroes’ welcome last week.
The Lisheen lads were in great form at the Celtic Ross Hotel on Wednesday night where they received the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month award for August, in recognition of their silver medal success in the men’s lightweight double sculls at the Games in Rio.
Joined by family and friends, it was a great evening spent in the Warren Suite, as Gary and Paul were in relaxed form, and, for the first time, they had all their medals from 2016 together – two Olympic silver medals, two European gold medals, two silvers from the World Cup regatta in Varese and Paul’s world gold.
With The Irish Open regatta in early October in mind, on Wednesday they started back training, on a rowing machine, with mixed results!
‘It was fine for me,’ Paul laughed, before Gary jumped in, ‘it was grand for him, he had only a week off, I had four!’
‘The hands were burning, the legs were burning, the heart was burning, and I wasn’t even going that hard,’ Gary said.
At least Paul was there to offer him some words of encouragement: ‘You won’t be able to walk tomorrow, I say’.
Paul added: ‘I enjoyed it. After the week and a half off, you’d feel like there was something missing. It freshens you up when you’re on it and it relaxes the mind because you don’t have to worry about anything else.
‘Last year when we qualified for the Olympics (after the worlds in early September) we took almost three weeks off and by the time it came to come back I could have done with another week off, to be honest, but after two or three days of being home this time, things were so mad that I was trying to find some time to get rowing again.’
As for Thursday’s spin on the water, Gary said: ‘We’ll try and get a quad out. Last year we spent so much time in singles and the double, but that was the nature of the year that it was, with the Olympics. We’ll have a bit more freedom this year, rowing around in crew boats and with the lads in the club as well.’
The Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star Awards are the most popular and prestigious sports awards in West Cork, and are run in conjunction with The Southern Star and C103.