Ten quick facts about John Twomey, Team Ireland’s remarkable flag bearer at the Paralympics
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Ten quick facts about John Twomey, Team Ireland’s remarkable flag bearer at the Paralympics

  • John Twomey became wheelchair bound as a 14-year-old after striking a parked vehicle during a youth county championship cycling time trial. He broke his back and neck.

  • Before his accident, he was also a promising young hurler in his native Kinsale, Cork.

  • At 61, the sailor is Ireland’s oldest competitor at the 2016 Paralympics, his 11th and final Games.

  • That means he’s the first and only Irish athlete to compete in 10 Games, across either the Paralympics or Olympics.

  • The multi-talented Irishman has competed in every Paralympic Games since 1976 across three different sports.

  • He’s won multiple medals; bronze (1984) and gold (1988) in discus, as well as silver in table tennis in 1980.

  • He switched to sailing when it was introduced to the Paralympic Games ahead of Sydney 2000.

  • Twomey specialises in the Open Three-Person Keelboat (Sonar) and will compete alongside Ian Costelloe and Austin O’Carroll in his key event in Rio.

  • With sailing omitted from the next Games in Tokyo 2020, he plans to turn to coaching younger Paralympians once he finishes up in Brazil.

  • On top of his vast Paralympic experience, Twomey has served as President of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS).

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