Sunday 30 April 2017

As outsider with new broom, I could put OCI at heart of our nation's obsession with sport

Boxer Katie Taylor returns home from London 2012 with her gold medal. ‘Meeting athletes like Taylor would inspire our future sports people.’ Photo: Pat Murphy/ Sportsfile
Boxer Katie Taylor returns home from London 2012 with her gold medal. ‘Meeting athletes like Taylor would inspire our future sports people.’ Photo: Pat Murphy/ Sportsfile

Bernard O'Byrne

'The very best of luck, but why would you bother?" That has been the most frequent response from friends, family and colleagues since news of my candidacy for the OCI presidential election broke earlier this week.

Well, first of all, it is not for financial reasons, as the post is voluntary and therefore, unpaid. The simple answer is that the Olympic ideal means something to me and I feel I have the expertise, knowledge and ideas to make the Olympic brand respected in Ireland and relevant to Irish sport.

As a youngster, I was only exposed to the GAA by the Christian Brothers and to soccer by 'Match of the Day' on the BBC, so during my childhood and teenage years, the Olympic Games spectacle was a window into the varied delights of new worlds of sport: weightlifting, pole-vaulting, gymnastics and many other never seen, as far as I was concerned, in the hinterland of Inchicore where I had been brought up.

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