Sporting mothers bond over makeovers
IF world-class makeovers were an Olympic event, then this group of women would do Ireland proud.
For now though -- given that the endurance sports of manicure and elite styling have yet to be recognised by the international committee -- regular athletes will have to do.
The mothers of some of Ireland's Olympians gathered in Dublin yesterday for a bit of luxury bonding ahead of this summer's London games.
In residence at the Wella Professional Stylists' Salon on Chancery Lane in Dublin, 18 sporting mums were treated to the gold standard of pampering as guests of P&G Salon Professionals.
Where better for these proud parents to have those typical conversations about raising children -- the intensive training schedules, injuries, recovery techniques, diets, records and the secrets of producing a champion?
"He is just about to qualify, we are just waiting for the letter," said Mary Noble, from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, as if talking about her son's college graduation.
Gavin Noble will compete in the triathlon. What more could a mother ask for?
"He is 30 and I am just waiting for someone for him to settle down with and give all of this up, that would be gold for me," joked Mary.
"Of course I am bursting with pride -- when your boy is representing his country it's probably one of the greatest feelings."
Eva O'Rourke's daughter Derval, preparing for the games as a sprint hurdler, sum-med up the feelings of most present.
"I am really proud and it's lovely to see her getting success," she said.
"She is very, very focused and she is level-headed as well, which helps.
"She has done an arts degree in UCD and did a Masters in business management."
Derval's life is linked to the Olympics on an even deeper, personal level as she met her boyfriend, sailor Peter O'Leary, while competing in Beijing.
Yesterday's gathering was like any other where mothers were free to laud their offspring -- although if there were baby pictures, they would likely have been dressed in spandex.
They start young, Peter O'Leary's proud mother pointed out.
"He started very young -- at about the age of five -- and he comes from a sailing family," explained Sally O'Leary, from Crosshaven in Cork.
Peter (30) will compete in sailing.
"Today is about pampering mothers. I am in charge of the logistics for the family so today is about us.
"We are very undecided (about going), we might see more on the telly because you won't have tickets for a ringside seat," she added.
Anne Ryan's daughter Deirdre (29) will compete in the high jump, following four years of preparation in Germany.
"You get strength from the other mothers because you can say, 'are you nervous and excited?'," she said.
"It's great to meet others from different disciplines, which you wouldn't know much about."