Sunday 16 June 2019

Sonia O'Sullivan: A life in brief

A life in brief

Graham Clifford

Born Cork, November 28, 1969.

Family Dad, John, from Dublin, was in the Irish Navy and met Sonia's mother, Mary (Shealy), while visiting Cobh. He'd go on to play as goalkeeper for Cobh Ramblers. Sonia has a brother, Tony, who lives in Chicago, and a sister, Gillian, in Brisbane. Married to Australian Nic Bideau with whom she has two daughters, Ciara (14) and Sophie (11).

A born Runner Used to race against cars around Cobh. Joined the Ballymore-Cobh Athletics club as a young teen and impressed locally. Earned a scholarship to study accountancy at Pennsylvania's Villanova University.

Top achievements Sydney Olympics 2000 – Silver (5,000m), Gothenburg World C'ships 1995 – Gold (5,000m), Stuttgart World C'ships 1993 – Silver (1,500m), Helsinki European C'ships 1994 – Gold (3,000m), Budapest European C'ships 1998 – Gold (5,000m and 10,000m), Marrakesh World Cross-Country C'ships 1998 – Gold (4km and 8km).

Regret at running marathons "I was kind of pushed into it. I always think running in them was the biggest mistake I ever made, I shouldn't have got into that."

A split political family? "I know Ciara wasn't too happy when Tony Abbott was elected Australian PM, she's not his biggest fan. I really don't follow politics down there too closely, but I like the way he sounds and speaks, so we'll wait and see."

Irish Independent

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