O'Sullivan advises Adeleke to avoid social media before Olympics

O'Sullivan advises Adeleke to avoid social media before Olympics

Former Irish Olympian Sonia O'Sullivan has advised current Irish track star Rhasidat Adeleke to avoid social media before the Paris Olympic Games next month.

Adeleke is seen as the crown jewel in Ireland's athletic teams and has consistently won mixed 4x400m relay gold, women's 4x400m relay silver, and individual 400m silver at Rome's European Championships last week.

It would be assumed that Ireland's Adeleke would be praised from all angles for her running performances and wins, but some have refused to acknowledge her feats because of her Nigerian upbringing and claim that she isn't Irish.

Many public figures and bodies have come out to defend Adeleke, like Taoiseach Simon Harris, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath, and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI), in the wake of the comments made towards the athlete.

Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) said, "SARI is appalled but unsurprised that one of Ireland’s magnificent young athletes, Rhasidat Adeleke, who gave the nation such joy at last week’s European Athletic Championships in Rome, has suffered racial abuse online. It is shocking that one person—the only black member of a wonderfully talented team of athletes—can be targeted in this manner. This is another wake-up call for our legislators and those who govern Irish sport."

Rhasidat Adeleke of Team Ireland. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Former Sydney Olympian Sonia O'Sullivan has become the latest voice to defend Adeleke. The Cork native claims that Tallaght native Adeleke must be able to find a way to block out the social media noise before her inaugural Olympics this summer.

"You have to be able to compartmentalise all these things, and you deal with them when you need to deal with them, but sometimes you have to put them aside, try to block them out, and focus on what you’re focusing on. And I’m sure that's what she’s doing—what the people around her are helping her to do," said O'Sullivan

"The best thing we can do is not ask her questions about it. You’re just reliving something that's not enjoyable for her, and that's not positive or helpful for her in what she’s trying to do."

Ultimately, O'Sullivan believes that Adeleke's removing herself completely from the social media buzz could be of great benefit to her before the summer games

"And that's for the athletes as well; they have to find methods of balancing their social media, and it goes along the lines of everything that people generally post on social media is positive anyway; very few times do you see the negative. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad, but when it's directed personally at somebody, then I think it's best to try to avoid it and stay away as much as you can."

The Olympics run from July 26 to August 11.