Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sonia O'Sullivan to Carry Olympic Torch

Three-time World Champion and Olympic silver medal winner Sonia O'Sullivan has been selected to serve as Ireland's Chef de Mission at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She has been chosen as well to carry the Olympic torch in Dublin in the lead-up to the Games.

A former 4-time NCAA champion while at Villanova, Sonia O'Sullivan competed for Ireland in four Olympic Games (1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens), winning a silver medal over 5000 meters in 2000. She was twice the World Champion in Cross Country, performing the rare long- and short-course double in Marrakesh in 1998. Sonia was also a World Champion on the track, winning the 5000 meters in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1995. She was a three-time European Champion over 3000 (1994), 5000 (1998), and 10,000 (1998) meters, and won European silver two additional times. She was runner-up over 3000 meters at the 1997 World Indoor Championships. At Villanova, Sonia won two NCAA cross country individual titles, in 1991 and 1992, and two 3000 meter NCAA crowns in 1990. She set world records over 2000 and 5000i meters.

O'Sullivan chosen to carry Olympic Torch in Dublin
Wednesday, 28 March 2012

By David Gold

March 28 - Sonia O'Sullivan, the country's most successful distance runner, will carry the Olympic Torch in Dublin on June 6, it has been announced.

O'Sullivan, the Sydney 2000 Olympic 5,000 metres silver medallist and the 1995 world champion, is among the country's most high-profile sports figures and will be Ireland's Chef de Mission at London 2012.

"She is our Chef to Mission for London, an iconic athlete, and fully entitled to it," said Patrick Hickey, the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

The historic Dublin part of the route will take in Croke Park, the Garden of Remembrance and Eden Quay, also crossing the Samuel Beckett Bridge on its journey to Mansion House in Dawson Street for midday, where there will be a ceremony with the 40 Torchbearers.

The Torch arrives in Dublin the day after being in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and marks a deviation from International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules limiting the Torch Relay to the host country of the Olympic Games, after London 2012 were successful in winning special permission to show the heritage and sporting ambitions of Ireland.

It had already been announced that Wayne McCullough, the 1992 Olympic bantamweight silver medallist who went on to win the world title, will be handing over to Michael Carruth, the 1992 Olympic welterweight champion, at the Border.

Mark KenneallyMark Kenneally (pictured), the first Irishman to qualify for London 2012, will represent Trinity College Dublin, along with Natalya Coyle, a student of business, economics and social studies, and Áine Ní Choisdealbha, studying for a masters degree in neuroscience and a social justice campaigner.

Choisdealbha has also been involved in a programme providing tuition to disadvantaged children in Dublin and was last year awarded a Trinity Gold Medal for her academic results.

Kenneally, 30, said: "This is a huge honour for me to be given this opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame in my own home town.

"Having qualified for the Olympics it is an extra special year for me participating in the Olympic Torch Relay."

Kenneally, a member of Clonliffe Harriers Athletic Club, qualified for the Olympics last October when he ran 2 hours 13min 55sec, more than a minute inside the A-standard for the Games, at the Amsterdam marathon.

The reigning 10,000m national champion, Kenneally has also represented his country at the European and World Cross Country Championships.

Coyle, meanwhile, is combining her studies with being the world number 43 in modern pentathlon and is on course to qualify for London 2012.

The trio were selected as part of a programme run by worldwide Olympic sponsor Samsung – also a presenting partner of the Torch Relay – and are among 40 who will carry the Torch through Dublin.

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Trinity's vice-provost for global relations, said: "Our selected students are excellent ambassadors for the college and role models for young people.

"It is appropriate that they should carry the Olympic Flame on the world stage on behalf of Trinity and Ireland, in recognition of their civic engagement and achievement in sports and studies."

The full list of Torchbearers is due to be announced on Friday (March 30).

The flame is travelling through more than 1,000 cities and towns in the United Kingdom and Ireland after it is flown to Cornwall on May 18 from Greece, on its way to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 on July 27.

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