Saturday 24 March 2018

The anatomy of a scandal - 13 days that shattered Ireland's Olympic spirit

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

The joy and pride provided by the O'Donovan brothers and Annalise Murphy has been completely eclipsed by judging controversies, doping and ticket touting scandals.

Here is how the dark side of Ireland's Olympic adventure has transpired:

August 4: It emerged that Michael O’Reilly failed a drugs test, which was taken in Ireland before he flew to Rio for the Games.

August 5: It was reported that O’Reilly would contest the finding. It was unclear at first if he would request his ‘B’ sample be tested, though initial indications were that he would not.

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Michael O'Reilly was disqualified after failing a drugs test Photo: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile

August 7: In an apparent U-turn, it was reported O’Reilly would request a ‘B’ sample test.

August 5-8: Sources in O’Reilly’s camp repeatedly insisted he was “squeaky clean” in the following days.

August 8: Irishman Kevin James Mallon, a finance director at the THG Group, is arrested ion Rio de Janeiro for alleged ticket touting.

Tickets of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games seized to one of the directors of THG Sports, a company of international business events and information group Marcus Evans, Irish Kevin James Mallon (inset), are displayed during a press conference at the City Police's station in Benfica, north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

August 9: The OCI announce that they are launching an immediate investigation after it emerges that over 800 tickets involved in an alleged ticket touting scam were allocated to them.

August 9: O’Reilly admitted he “unintentionally” took a supplement which “may” have contained a banned substance. His disqualification was confirmed.

August 10: Junior Sports Minister Patrick O'Donovan said that the touting scandal  would form part of the Oireachtas Sports Committee's formal review of Rio 2016.

August 11: Sports minister Shane Ross expresses concerns over OCI's investigation committee and calls for an independent observer to be involved.

August 12: The PRO10 agency, which was contracted as the official authorised ticket reseller (ATR) for the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), said Kevin Mallon was holding tickets for its clients.

August 15: Sports Minister Shane Ross claims he is 'absolutely stunned' that the OCI will not allow an independent observer to participate in touting probe.

Sports Minister Shane Ross Photo: Mark Condren

August 15: Brazilain police seek arrest of British millionaire Marcus Evans (52),  Irishman David Patrick Gilmore (35), British man Martin Studd (49) and Dutchman Maartin van Os (45) in relation to the ticket touting investigation.

August 15: Shock as Katie Taylor lost to Finland’s Mira Potkonen in the quarter-finals of the lightweight division following a highly contentious decision.

August 16: Further controversy as Michael Conlan is defeated on a unanimous decision by Russia's Vladimir Nikitin. He brands the AIBA 'cheats' in an explosive post-fight interview. Statistics prove that Conlan should have won.

Michael Conlan of Ireland during his Bantamweight quarter final bout with Vladimir Nikitin of Russia at the Riocentro Pavillion 6 Arena during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

August 17: AIBA admit that a 'handful' of decisions were 'not at the level expected' and the judges involved will not officiate again in Rio but results stand.

August 17: OCI President Pat Hickey is arrested in Rio in relation to Brazilian authorities' ticket touting investigation.

Still image from footage of Pat Hickey being confronted by police in Brazil

August 17: Brazilian police state that Mr Hickey is suspected of formation of a criminal association/cartel, sales of illegal ticketing and marketing without authorisation.

August 17: Mark Adams, the IOC Head of Communications, confirms that Pat Hickey was taken to hospital in Rio by ambulance at 7.30am local time.

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