From Rome to Paris: Ireland’s Athletic Renaissance Ignites Olympic Dreams

June 14, 2024

After a historic week in Rome, Team Ireland are arriving home to a nation full of optimism for what's to come in Paris in just six weeks from today. The haul of two gold medals and two silver medals marked success that this country hasn't seen the likes of in over 25 years and it has brought an evident boost and injection of energy into the Athletics scene in Ireland. The support for these athletes is at an all-time high, there is no doubt about it, and it is fair to say that Ireland are now soaring into Paris 2024.

Looking back on the medal wins at the European Championships, we begin with the Mixed 4x400m Relay team of Chris O'Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr, and Sharlene Mawdsley who romped home on Day One. Securing a National Record alongside a Championship Record with their time of 3.09.92, these four incredible athletes really kicked off the week in style with their performance in the historic Stadio Olimpico.

The mixed relay team really seemed to light the green touch paper on the week with their gold medal, and confidence was certainly high amongst everybody watching at home for the remainder of the Championships.

Day Three saw the superb Ciara Mageean claim a gold medal in the Women’s 1500M that meant everything to herself and the nation that was fully behind her. The Down native was incredible on the night, putting in the performance of a lifetime to clinch the gold medal that she so craved. Her reaction, along with the reaction of Irish fans at home and in the stadium, truly captured the emotion of the moment and what it meant.

Day Four saw the spotlight shine on the 21-year-old phenomenon Rhasidat Adeleke once again, as she aimed to win her second medal of the Championships. Competing in the Women’s 400M Final alongside relay teammate Sharlene Mawdsley, spirits and hopes were high for something a little bit special to come Ireland’s way in this one.

A breath-taking race culminated with a nip and tuck final stretch between Adeleke and Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek, which the latter narrowly edged on the line, leaving Adeleke initially disappointed with a second placed finish. However, her silver medal winning time of 49.07 is one which she should be well and truly proud of as it sets her in great stead for the Paris Games in July.

Going into the sixth and final day of the Championships, Ireland sat on three medals (two gold and one silver) and fingers were crossed for anther medal winning performance in the Women’s 4x400M relay. The team carrying the Irish hopes to the track were Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, Phil Healy, and Sharlene Mawdsley. Lauren Cadden was replaced by Adeleke for the final, and she deserves huge recognition and credit for her performance on the previous day in securing Ireland’s place in the final.

Blistering performances from all four athletes, featuring a rapid time from Adeleke and an unbelievable effort in the final split from Mawdsley, saw Ireland seal another silver medal for the Championships, finishing just behind Femke Bol of Holland. Another National Record of 3:22.71 putting a cap on a historic week for the Athletics in the Emarald Isle.

The week was one filled with pride for the Irish spectator, as the country’s broader interest continued to grow as the week went on, bringing Irish people together in support of our athletes for these Championships, and now fully on board for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

The athletes in every single discipline and event represented themselves with such class all week long at every stage. Every single media clip that was released of Irish athletes were full of smiles and joy, which really translated across to the viewer, making Team Ireland a group that you truly want to get behind. There is nothing for show, we get these athletes at their rawest each and every time they speak and it is a quality which certainly has not gone unnoticed.

As attention begins to turn towards the Olympic Games, it is only right that we look back and reflect on what was a golden week for Irish Athletics, sparking renewed hope on our shores.

Featured Image: by Eric Bellamy. Instagram: @shutterdublin

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