Thursday 22 March 2018

Kenneth Egan: It's more like Only Fools and Horses than the greatest show on Earth

Pat Hickey speaks during an interview at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Photo: Jack Guez
Pat Hickey speaks during an interview at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Photo: Jack Guez

Kenneth Egan

It's been a disastrous few weeks for Irish amateur boxing and we've been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons - but this business with Pat Hickey really takes the Olympic biscuit.

This fiasco is alien to Ireland, and when you see people ridiculing him online it's obvious there isn't much sympathy out there. It's all hard-hitting stuff and maybe he had it coming to him.

I first met Pat Hickey at the Olympics qualifying tournament in 2008 when we went to collect our tracksuits in Malahide, and he was there to give us our gear. Little did I know he'd also be handing a silver medal to me in Beijing later that year.

That's the cream of the crop and it's obvious he was well up at Olympic level. I've run into him at many functions since, and in fairness he was always down to earth, so this is a massive shock.

When I saw him being interviewed about the ticket touting scandal, he was throwing his weight around and was adamant that this would be sorted in-house, and I thought it would all be forgotten. Obviously not.

It's come back to bite him in the ass. Watching the video of the lads knocking on his door and him being in his son's room next door was embarrassing.

You could see the blanket covering his face as he was being escorted to the car, and with that type of carry-on behind the scenes I'd be very worried about the future of the Olympics.

The athletes are like pawns - we're out there trying to compete and win medals and we're not getting fair play. I was lucky enough to experience Beijing, a well-oiled machine, but now you see these shenanigans.

And what's happening with the allegations surrounding Hickey, and referees/judges being sent home under a cloud, the Olympic walls are starting to tumble down. But everyone's time runs out.

People speak about the Olympic spirit and fairness, but it's been the exact opposite from start to finish. So what's going to happen at the next Olympics?

You couldn't write what's after happening in Rio, it's a comedy sketch more like 'Only Fools and Horses' than the greatest show on Earth.

Irish Independent

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