Saturday 1 October 2016

Hold your head up high, Katie, and look to the future

Published 18/08/2016 | 02:30

Katie Taylor after her defeat in Rio. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor after her defeat in Rio. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

I don't watch the Olympics but if Katie Taylor has anything to feel happy about, it is that she still comes from a country that appreciates athletes' efforts and commitment apart from the shine of the golden medal.

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It is to the detriment of all - athletes, audience and even the IOC and the sports themselves - that this desire for gold now outweighs the great humanity of the endeavour.

Athletes put in many hours of sweat and blood to become great at their sports.

This effort has been tarnished not as much by drugs as by the win-at-any-cost mentality of those who surround the athletes.

For the millions of ordinary people who watch these athletes soar to their own greatest height, the thrill can only be damaged by sewage that now surrounds our athletes - and I'm not talking about Rio's swimming pools.

Maybe it's time for a second Olympics. One that is a truly level playing field, giving even the poorest in the world the opportunity to compete as an amateur. To shine without destroying their bodies and future lives.

Tailteann Games, anyone?

As for Katie Taylor, take a little time to appreciate the level to which you've soared. How proud everyone in Ireland is of your achievements; how keenly they feel your disappointment.

And how much they will cheer you on in the future, whatever choices you make.

Tomorrow, as they say, is another day and happiness is the greatest gold a person can win.

Pauline Bleach

NSW, Australia

Annalise has made us proud

There is no one more deserving of an Olympic medal than Annalise Murphy, and her courage and commitment to come back after the disappointment of the 2012 London Olympics and win a silver medal in Rio is inspirational to all athletes. She has made us all proud.

Gerald Reilly

Trim, Co Meath

Russian world champion Evgeny Tishchenko was booed by the crowd in Rio after his unanimous points win over Vassiliy Levit in the men's Olympic heavyweight final on Monday. Levit was treated in the same disgraceful way as our own Michael Conlan.

Yet a lot of people don't realise that there was an Irish judge for that fight. It would be very interesting to hear his views when he returns home and maybe, just maybe, he will be able to explain the fairness of the system to Michael and lessen his and this country's pain.

Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin

Gay and celibate

The referendum on same-sex marriage was passed. What is wrong with allowing gay men to be priests? Being gay doesn't mean you can't be celibate.

I think Diarmuid Martin was mistaken to send seminarians to Rome. It puts one in mind of the adage of certain animals leaving the sinking ship. Why not clear the rot in college and allow men, gay or heterosexual, to join if they make the necessary celibacy vows?

Teresa Kelly

Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois

In praise of pets

Pet dogs, cats, rabbits and gerbils were part and parcel of our home when the family were young. Similar to columnist Barbara Scully (Irish Independent, August 16), our children too have fled the nest on their varied career paths, and still keep pets for their own children. Signs of graves and ceremonial emblems are still evident in our back garden where, amid gatherings of their school pals, interment of pets often took place.

In today's digi-tech dominated environment, the presence of a children's 'living pet' in the home is more essential than ever. Psychologically, mentally and emotionally a pet can nurture many valuable traits in a growing child - to be caring, loving and affectionate with animals. The kindness and respect developed for pets in childhood may even be matched by that shown towards their own parents in later life.

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Croker a poor match for U-21s

Tom Cooper (Irish Independent Letters, August 12) claims the U-21 All-Ireland football and hurling finals should be played at Croke Park. Croke Park is without doubt one of the finest sporting venues in the world, but only when it is at least close to capacity. I attended the Dublin/Donegal and Mayo/Tyrone All-Ireland football quarter-finals recently and the atmosphere had the hair on the back of my neck standing on end.

I've also been in Croke Park when it is virtually empty, with maybe 10,000 spectators. The goal or point of the season may be scored and the sound of a crowd that size creates less than a murmur in the colossal surroundings of GAA HQ. Without casting aspersions on the future stars of the game, U21 finals do not draw capacity crowds at Croke Park, and won't even fill the lower tiers. Playing these games at provincial grounds creates atmosphere and also brings much-needed economic activity to areas outside the capital.

Justin Kelly

Edenderry, Co Offaly

Charged on the double

My relatives and friends in the UK pay a licence fee which provides funds for the BBC. However, when availing of its excellent services they don't have to endure advertising. Here in Ireland, in addition to paying a licence fee for the RTÉ service, we have to tolerate advertising, some of which is very irritating.

On the top of my list at present is one in which a gentleman keeps telling me when a special offer is "gone, it's definitely gone" and on and on. RTÉ seems to be aware commercial breaks irritate people because they increase the volume in case people leave the room to escape.

Perhaps RTÉ might offer licence payers an option to register online to vote what on ads they would wish to have removed. I know I live in hope.

Tony Moriarty

Dublin 6W

A better Leaving Cert

The present system of grading exams for the Leaving Certificate costs the taxpayer several million euro each year and puts an inordinate amount of stress on students and parents as they await the results - which take approximately 65 days to be released.

Please permit me to offer the following system. It would have the results in the hands of students within seven days.

Example: On 4 June at 10am the exam paper in English is issued to every student across the nation. The students of School A have their English exam taken to nearby School B, within hours of the completion of the English exam, and given to qualified teachers to grade the exam. And vice-versa.

Within three days the exam results from both schools are returned to their parent school. Results are given to students within the seven days.

Vincent J Lavery

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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