Sport

Thursday 8 December 2016

Off the Ball: Irish restore interest in bruised Olympics

Ger Gilroy

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

You might have noticed the '100 days to Rio' milestone going around last week, are you excited yet? (Stock picture)
You might have noticed the '100 days to Rio' milestone going around last week, are you excited yet? (Stock picture)

You might have noticed the '100 days to Rio' milestone going around last week.

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Excited yet? Can you not feel it? There were updates on the political and economic situation in Rio, a reminder that the cities that host Olympics have the Games inflicted upon their citizens by politicians as opposed to being truly part of them until they start. People are literally dying to build the Olympic facilities.

It's hard not to be jaded by the athletics in particular. The IAAF have no credibility and were recently found to be in league with the dopers.

We had Eamonn Coghlan in studio a couple of weeks back and he confessed to feeling the same sense of fatigue that a lot of us have.

It's easy to become cynical when you're covering the sports news. It's a drib of a cover-up here and a drab of a failed drugs test there, with occasional booms of entire countries exposed.

Love

Sometimes you forget why you fell in love with sport in the first place. Then you speak to the athletes who are putting their lives on hold to compete for us. Ciara Everard, Thomas Barr and Annalise Murphy were in studio last week and it was impossible not to be impressed by them.

The difficulty that athletics has in particular is that most of the coverage is negative. It's a pity that we don't have those big televised meetings in high summer any more where the best athletes race each other, building up familiarity.

The Irish athletes are trying to carve a living out while building a life as well as a career in sport. They do it against incredible odds and most of the time the coverage they get is a few lines at the end of the sports bulletin or a one-off feature here and there.

It's a grind and we don't truly appreciate how hard these people work to represent Ireland.

It doesn't change my mind about watching the freak show of the 100m but I'll be tuning in with an emotional tie to the 800m, the 400m hurdles and the sailing now.

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