KIERAN McCARTHY looks at the overnight success story that was 14 years in the making
NOTHING could have prepared Gary and Paul O’Donovan for what was waiting for them when they returned home after their Olympic heroics in 2016.
That summer they left West Cork as two local rowers who could walk down North Street in Skibbereen to Kalbo’s Café and not be noticed, but they returned as Olympic medallists, history-makers, national heroes, rowing superstars and Irish pin-ups. It was a lot to take in. Too much, almost.
They were still so young – Gary was 23 years old, Paul was 22 – when their lives were transformed.
In Rio, after they had won Ireland’s first-ever rowing medal at an Olympics, silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls, another Cork Olympian, race-walker Rob Heffernan, told them that their lives would never be the same. They didn’t understand at the
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