Friday 30 September 2016

Politics is about winning, not taking part, Mr Ross

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

OCI president Pat Hickey Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
OCI president Pat Hickey Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

'The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

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So said Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee.

Clearly, Transport and Sport Minister Shane Ross had the words of Baron de Coubertin in mind when he met with Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey.

Ross took part, but he certainly didn't win. Although, it must be pointed out, he neither conquered nor fought well.

In the crunch meeting to discuss the Olympic ticketing scandal, Hickey ran rings around him. The OCI chief gave nothing away, provided no details on the internal inquiry into the ticketing controversy and, significantly, refused to allow an independent member to be appointed to the investigation, as the minister had demanded.

Ross travelled 9,000km to get the metaphorical two fingers. Hickey is a shrewd operator, but if he factored in the irony of Ross being outflanked by the producing of the legal advice card, then he deserves a medal for pure cheek.

Tail between his legs, Ross now has to come crawling back to the Attorney General Máire Whelan - whose legal expertise on the abortion issue he dismissed a month ago as "simply an opinion" - for his own legal advice.

Despite the protests from the ticketing companies, the Brazilian police are escalating their investigation, now issuing arrest warrants for four directors of the company at the centre of the 'touting' scandal. Our man in Rio is well behind the pace in getting to the bottom of the tale.

The Olympic motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius" - Faster, Higher, Stronger. The Rio showing by Ross has been inept, inadequate and incompetent. When you represent the Government, it's about winning, not taking part, minister.

Katie Taylor's legacy as a sportswoman is secure

The Olympic disarray of Ireland's boxing team reached its nadir yesterday with Katie Taylor's exit from Rio in her first bout.

After the elation of Taylor's gold medal win at London 2012 came the crushing loss to Finland's Mira Potkonen in the quarter final of the women's lightweight bracket in Rio 2016.

Sport is a cruel business.

Taylor's shock defeat adds to Ireland's woes inside - and outside - of the boxing ring. Foreshadowed by the unnecessary departure of Irish High Performance Unit head coach Billy Walsh and overshadowed by the doping expulsion of Michael O'Reilly, Ireland's most successful Olympic sport of the last quarter century is in the doldrums. Disappointingly, the Olympic performances have not matched the ability of the athletes.

The last boxer standing, Michael Conlan, now carries the weight of redemption on his shoulders.

Taylor was guaranteed at least a bronze medal if she had won yesterday. Alas, it wasn't to be. The loss of Walsh and her father, Pete, from her corner undoubtedly contributed to her loss of form this year.

However, Katie Taylor will not be defined by this defeat. Her contribution to Irish sport over the best part of a decade is immense and she has been an outstanding role model for young women in sport, in particular. Her skill and power has been matched by a relentless work rate.

Credited with ensuring women's boxing became an Olympic sport four years ago, her legacy is secure.

Irish Independent

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