13 facts about Ireland’s most famous Olympian Ronnie Delany

13 facts about Ireland’s most famous Olympian Ronnie Delany

Ronnie Delany was born near the town of Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on March 6, 1935 but his family moved to Sandymount in Dublin when he was six years old.

He took up an athletics scholarship to Villanova, Philadelphia, where he was trained by the legendary Jumbo Elliot, one of the greatest athletics coaches of all time.

After beginning his studies in 1954, he graduated from Villanova with a BSc in Economics.

He won the Olympic Gold medal in the 1,500 metres in Melbourne on December 1, 1956, setting a new Olympic record in the process.

In winning the Olympic gold medal, Delany defeated some of the world’s best athletes, including the hometown hero and hot favourite John Landy, the world record holder at the time.

His athletics achievements also include 40 straight indoor victories in the states from 1956 to 1959, some of which were 33 mile races.

The long distance runner finished third (time: 3:57.5) in the legendary ‘Miracle Mile’ at Dublin's Santry Stadium in 1958, in which the first four home all broke the existing world mile record.

Indeed, Delany was the Indoor Mile World Record Holder from 1958 to 1962.

He appeared on the front of the Sports Illustrated edition dated February 2, 1959, with the sub-heading 'Irish star on the American campus’.

Delany was Ireland's first ever gold medallist at the World University Games after winning the 800m in 1961.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by University College Dublin at a ceremony in O’Reilly Hall, Belfield, on Dec 4, 2006.

Having been employed by Aer Lingus whilst in America, Delany returned to Dublin to work for B&I Line for almost 20 years.

He was awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 2006.

Source: UCD