Olympic rowing champion Paul shows his speed on land, again

February 19th, 2022 7:15 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Paul O'Donovan (Leevale AC) competing in the intermediate men's race at the 2022 National Intermediate, Master, Juvenile B & Relays Cross Country Championships in Castlelyons. (Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)

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WE can’t confirm the rumour that Superman goes to bed every night wearing Paul O’Donovan pyjamas – but we do know that the Skibbereen man is conquering land as well as water.

The Olympic gold rowing medallist swapped the waters of the National Rowing Centre in Inniscarra for the hilly terrain of Castlelyons in east Cork, as he competed in the national intermediate cross-country championships on Sunday.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen the Skibbereen rower swap his oars for his running shoes, as he competed in Cork cross-country novice and senior championships late last year following his gold medal winning heroics at the Tokyo Games alongside Fintan McCarthy in the Irish men’s lightweight double.

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan with their Olympic gold medals from Tokyo.


Running for Leevale AC again last Sunday, the 26-year-old finished 34th out of 83 runners in the men’s intermediate race with a time of 29 minutes and nine seconds. The winner, Clonmel athlete Evan Fitzgerald, was a clear winner in 25 minutes flat. There was success for O’Donovan’s Leevale team, as they took the club honours.

Just last month O’Donovan and McCarthy were named World Rowing’s 2021 Men’s Crew of the Year, which recognised their incredible success last year, and 2022 will be another busy year for the Irish men’s lightweight double, with the opening World Cup regatta in Belgrade in May.

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