Saturday 1 October 2016

Treacy relives his own glory days as he returns to LA with Special Olympians

Published 28/07/2015 | 02:30

John Treacy
John Treacy

Olympic silver medallist John Treacy is still basking in the glory of his triumph 31 years after he sprinted for home in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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The marathon runner relived his historic win in recent days as he returned to the stadium to lead out Team Ireland at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics.

"LA was great to me in my career and the crowning moment was the Olympics in 1984. On that occasion I had an Englishman on my back so I really couldn't enjoy coming in the stadium - but this time I really enjoyed walking into the stadium and leading out the fantastic team we have here," he said.

And he told the Irish Independent that his "icon moment", which was immortalised on television by Jimmy Magee's commentary, is something that he still gets "great joy" out of. "It's an icon moment and I always say it would be worse if people forgot about it. It's nice that people talk about that bit of commentary.

"Jimmy is a stalwart of sports and it's nice that the two of us are linked in that particular moment. People remember that moment and where they were," he said.

As Treacy overtook British athlete Charlie Spedding heading into the home straight, Magee listed out all of Ireland's previous Olympic medal winners, before finishing: "And for the 13th time, an Olympic medal goes to John Treacy from Villierstown in Waterford, the little man with the big heart."

Treacy, who is now head of the Irish Sports Council, said: "There are some very funny stories but the nice thing is that you know you touched their lives for a moment in 1984. A moment they'll always remember and it's nice to have had the honour of doing that."

He returned to win the Los Angeles marathon in 1992 but his latest visit to the city has been as a mentor to the Special Olympics athletes.

"I would tell them to keep the head on, dig in and perform to the best of your ability. No matter what the outcome, make sure that you have enjoyed what you have achieved," he said. "There is a lot of pressure on them but all of them have trained really hard for this and they will give it their all."

He said returning to LA to be part of the World Games has filled him with emotion.

Irish Independent

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