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OLYMPICS John Treacy

John Treacy is the chief executive of the Irish Sports Council and he will be travelling to Rio this month in an official capacity, but it is not his first Olympics....


ohn Treacy was born in Villierstown in Waterford in 1957. He famously used to run the 12 km to school in Cappoquin

every morning and he soon realised that track and field was his sport. He made a name for himself nationally at

cross country events and first represented Ireland at the Olympics in 1980 in Russia. During the 10,000 metre race he collapsed on the track suffering from heat paralysis and dehydration. He went on to finish 7th in the 5,000

metres at those Olympics. However surely his crowning glory at the games was in 1984 when he stunned the world, and commentator Jimmy Magee, when he made a burst in the last few hundred metres of the marathon, overtaking Charlie Spedding on the final stretch to win a silver medal. During the last few metres of that race

RTE commentator Magee was heard listing Ireland’s previous medal winners before stating the immortal line “And for the 13th time, an Olympic medal goes to John Treacy from Villierstown in Waterford, the little man with the big heart." We caught up him ahead of his journey to

Rio to look forward to these games and to ask his advice for the athletes travelling to the greatest show on earth. “We have a very strong Irish team this

year and we have a lot to look forward to. A lot of these athletes would normally perform under the radar and it will be nice to see them on the world stage. The Olympic games are like nothing you

will ever come across in your life. They are bigger and better than everything else. So you better be prepared for it! It’s about focus, preparation and not changing that preparation, stick to your plan. Also have people around you that support you that know you very well. Keep your head

John Treacy winning silver at 1984 Olympics

down and don’t be distracted by everything that is going on around you. It’s time to overcome those nerves and perform to the best of your ability. I will be heading out on the 12th August

“He has had a rough

time but he has turned it around. With all the setbacks he has had this year he has had a

remarkable recovery.” John on

Thomas Barr 26 WATERFORD

for about a week. I am hoping to watch the track and field and also some of the boxing and take in the golf aswell if I can. I will try to get wherever Irish competitors are. I sometimes find myself as nervous as the athletes I am watching. These are not only fine athletes but they

are fine people aswell and you would want them to do well. I ask him was he nervous himself in 1984? “Absolutely, there is no doubt about

it. You realise when you are going to the starting line that this could be the most important race of your life. In terms of track and field that is what it comes down to. Because the pinnacle of the sport is the Olympic games and that is something that does bear down on your mind when you are lining up at the start. “But once the gun goes you are on your


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