TEAM IRELAND heroes Gary and Paul O’Donovan say they hope their Olympic fame will spark a fresh interest in rowing back home.
The O’Donovan brothers took silver in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls on Friday, Ireland’s first medal at Rio 2016 and their first ever in rowing at the Olympics.
The pair have become an internet sensation for their colourful post-race interviews, each of which has become an online hit.
After taking silver having narrowly missed out on gold to France, the Skibbereen duo took the opportunity to thanks their new-found fans for their support and hope their success will help more people participate in rowing.
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 12, 2016
“Hopefully there’ll be more Olympics champions to come, please God,” said Paul in RTE’s post-race interview.
“We’re a little bit disappointed not to take gold, but we put it up to the French as best we could.
“We’re dreading going home now because Mick Conlan said he’s box the head off us if we didn’t win gold!”
His brother Gary took the opportunity to thank their legions of fans for their support, which spurred them on in Rio.
“We’re hugely honoured and so proud to be representing Ireland and everybody back home and we’ve been getting such huge support,” he said.
“You’ve just been asking questions and we’ve just been answering them, but people have been enjoying it!”
Meanwhile, RTE opted not the post the last few seconds of their interview online, but they had no control over the live broadcast, which was captured and distributed online by Irish bookmakers Paddy Power.
Irish rowers, just after winning a silver medal, end interview on interesting note... pic.twitter.com/UhkZmwgQg5
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 12, 2016